A daring, funny, and poignant novel about the desire and duty to procreate, by one of our most brilliant and original writers.
Motherhood treats one of the most consequential decisions of early adulthood--whether or not to have children--with the intelligence, wit and originality that have won Sheila Heti international acclaim, and which led her previous work, How Should a Person Be?, to be called "one of the most talked-about books of the year" (TIME magazine).
Having reached an age when most of her peers are asking themselves when they will become mothers, Heti's narrator considers, with the same urgency, whether she will do so at all. Over the course of several years, under the influence of her partner, body, family, friends, mysticism and chance, she struggles to make a moral and meaningful choice.
In a compellingly direct mode that straddles the forms of the novel and the essay, Motherhood raises radical and essential questions about womanhood, parenthood, and how--and for whom--to live.
SHEILA HETI is the acclaimed author of the novel How Should a Person Be?, which was named a New York Times Notable Book, the story collection The Middle Stories, and the novel Ticknor, which was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times, London Review of Books, The Globe and Mail, n+1, McSweeney's and The Believer. She frequently collaborates with other writers and artists. Sheila Heti lives in Toronto.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE
“A personal story, a feminist debate, a philosophical reflection on time, genealogy and Art—these are just some of the narrative strands that Sheila Heti weaves into Motherhood, a complex and defiant exploration of contemporary womanhood. As her narrator interrogates the spaces between motherhood and childlessness, other paths, other choices, emerge, including the possibilities of fiction itself. In her playful but precise prose, Heti turns interiority into an expansive landscape with life-altering implications for her narrator and anyone with an interest in the paradoxes of choice and the randomness of free will.” —2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury citation
“Here it finally is. A book for all of you who are considering having a baby, who had a baby, who didn’t have a baby, who didn’t want a baby, who don’t know what they want but the clock is ticking anyway. This topic is finally tackled as if it were the most important decision in your life. Because, um. How lucky are we that one of our foremost thinkers took this upon herself, for years, in real time, wrestling every day and living to tell. So fucking ready to live in the world this book will help make. Read and discuss, discuss, discuss.” “Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man
“A provocative, creative, and triumphant work of philosophical feminist fiction . . . Heti writes with courage, curiosity, and uncommon truth.” “Booklist (starred review)
“This lively, exhilaratingly smart, and deliberately, appropriately frustrating affair asks difficult questions about women’s responsibilities and desires, and society’s expectations.” “Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An emotionally complex novel about motherhood that isn’t about children. An intricately constructed book based on games of chance. This feels new.” “Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
“This inquiry into the modern woman’s moral, social and psychological relationship to procreation is an illumination, a provocation, and a response—finally—to the new norms of femininity, formulated from the deepest reaches of female intellectual authority. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Sheila Heti has broken new ground, both in her maturity as an artist and in the possibilities of the female discourse itself.” —Rachel Cusk, author of Outline and Transit
“I’ve never seen anyone write about the relationship between childlessness, writing, and mothers' sadnesses the way Sheila Heti does. I know Motherhood is going to mean a lot to many different people—fully as much so as if it was a human that Sheila gave birth to—though in a different and in fact incommensurate way. That’s just one of many paradoxes that are not shied away from in this courageous, necessary, visionary book.” —Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot and The Possessed