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4 of 5
6 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $10.99
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Aug 2011
ISBN:9781400025572
publisher: Knopf Canada

The Birth House

by Ami McKay

reviews: 1
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4 of 5
6 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $10.99
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
category: Fiction
published: Aug 2011
ISBN:9781400025572
publisher: Knopf Canada
Description

The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of Rares. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing. Dora becomes Miss B.’s apprentice, and together they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labours, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives. Filled with details as compelling as they are surprising, The Birth House is an unforgettable tale of the struggles women have faced to have control of their own bodies and to keep the best parts of tradition alive in the world of modern medicine.

From the Hardcover edition.

Contributor Notes

Ami McKay's work has aired on CBC radio's Maritime Magazine, This Morning, OutFront, and The Sunday Edition. Her documentary, Daughter of Family G, won an Excellence in Journalism Meallion at the 2003 Atlantic Journalism Awarsd. When she moved with her family to Scots Bay, Nova Scotia, she learned that their new home was once known as the birth house.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Review

"From the beginning of Ami McKay's debut novel, The Birth House, we know we're in for a bit of magic. . . . The Birth House is compelling and lively, beautifully conjuring a close-knit community and reminding us, as Dora notes, that the miracle happens not in birth but in the love that follows."
-The Globe and Mail
"The Birth House is filled with charming detail . . . McKay has a quiet and lyrical style that suits her subject. . . [It is] a story of individual human tenderness and endurance. . . . McKay is clearly a talented writer with a subtle sense of story, one that readers will look forward to hearing from, again and again."
-The Gazette (Montreal)

”Fresh as a loaf of homemade bread just out of the oven, The Birth House, a tale of sex, birth, love and pain will more than satisfy the hungry reader.“
-Joan Clark, author of An Audience of Chairs
”The moon over Nova Scotia must have extra magic in it to have fostered a writer of Ami McKay’s lyrical sway and grace. She retrieves our social history and lays it out before us in a collage of vivid, compelling detail. In McKay’s depiction of Dora Rare, an early twentieth century midwife, attention is paid to the day-to-day moments of love and tending that enable humans to endure. And we the readers get to witness the emergence of a powerful new voice in Canadian writing.“
-Marjorie Anderson, co-editor of Dropped Threads I and II
”Ami McKay is a marvellous storyteller who writes with a haunting and evocative voice. The novel offers a world of mystery and wisdom, a world where tradition collides with science, where life and death meet under the moon. With a startling sense of time and place The Birth House travels through a landscape that is at once deeply tender and exquisitely harsh. McKay is possessed with a brilliant narrative gift."
-Christy Ann Conlin, author of Heave

”Reading Ami McKay’s first novel is like rummaging through a sea-chest found in a Nova Scotian attic. Steeped in lore and landscape, peppered with journal entries, newspaper clippings and advertisements, this marvellous ‘literary scrapbook’ captures the harsh realities of the seacoast community of Scots Bay, Nova Scotia during WWI. With meticulous detail and visceral description, McKay weaves a compelling story of a woman who fights to preserve the art of midwifery, reminding us of the need, in changing times, for acts of bravery, kindness, and clear-sightedness.“
-Beth Powning, author of The Hatbox Letters

From the Hardcover edition.

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Reader Reviews

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The Birth House, by Ami McKay

What ruins this novel and story for me is that the author tells me what to think and feel, constantly judging the lives, beliefs, words, feelings and attitudes of the characters, instead of simply telling a story and letting me be the judge. She even judges the scenery! Can't just objectively describe a scene, she has to add a direct judgement into the colour of the sky, tell me what it should make me feel! Please, just give me a slice of life and I will absorb, witness or ingest it - but here the author feels the need to instruct me, preach to me, not with just how she writes and how she constructs the story, but in her very use of words and her descriptions. This subjective commenting throughout the novel stole something from what could have been a very powerful and poignant story. I see this often in modern writing...

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