Motherhood treats one of the most consequential decisions of adulthood — whether or not to have children — with the intelligence, wit and originality that have won Sheila Heti international acclaim.
Having reached an age when most of her peers are asking themselves when they will become mothers, Heti's narrator considers, with equal urgency, the question of whether she will do so at all. Over the course of several years, under the influence of her partner, her body, her family, mysticism and chance, Heti's narrator struggles to make a wise and meaningful choice. In the process, she takes apart, examines and reconstructs the very idea of "motherhood."
In the diary-like form of a woman in conversation with herself, Motherhood raises radical and essential questions, including whether this pivotal decision is truly "a decision" at all. (From Knopf Canada)
Motherhood is on the shortlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
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From the Scotiabank Giller Prize jury: "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, 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."
When I was younger, thinking about whether I wanted children, I always came back to this formula: If no one had told me anything about the world, I would have invented boyfriends. I'd have invented sex, friendships, art. I would not have invented child-rearing. I would have had to invent those other things to fulfil real longings in me, but if no one had ever told me that a person could create a person, and raise them into a citizen, it wouldn't have occurred to me as something to do. In fact, it would have sounded like a task to very much avoid.
From Motherhood by Sheila Heti @2018. Published by Knopf Canada.
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The winner will be announced on Nov. 19, 2018. Here's how you can tune into the broadcast.