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.
"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 * "Reading this beautiful novel, I felt I was watching a brilliant mind invent new tools for thinking. Sheila Heti wrings revelation from the act of asking, again and again, in ever more challenging and innovative ways, impossible questions of existence. Motherhood is a thrilling, very funny, and almost unbearably moving book." -- Garth Greenwell "I've never seen anyone write about the relationship between childlessness, writing, and mother's 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 "With each of her novels, Sheila Heti invents a new novel form. Motherhood is a riveting story of love and fate, a powerful inspiration to reflect, and a subtle depiction of the lives of contemporary women and men, by an exceptional artist in the prime of her powers. Motherhood constitutes its own genre within the many-faceted novel of ideas. Heti is like no one else." -- Mark Greif "I think of Motherhood as a beautiful, natural, living thing - a rare tree in the car-filled parking lot of literature, offering aesthetic and sustainable pleasures while also bristling with multiple, helpful, compassionate functions in the world. The high stakes, complexity, intensity, playfulness, seriousness, and inter-dimensionality of Motherhood's synthesis of art and life, of the imagination and the universe, makes me excited about both life and literature. I recommend reading and rereading Motherhood." -- Tao Lin
Sheila Heti is the author of seven books, including the critically acclaimed How Should a Person Be? and is co-editor of the New York Times bestseller, Women in Clothes. She is the former interviews editor at The Believer magazine, and has been published in the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, McSweeney's, the Paris Review and n+1. Her work has been translated into adozen languages. She lives in Toronto.