The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna

The Birth of Love

Joanna Kavenna

I really liked this book. It is really three stories about the perception of motherhood: one set in the present, another set in a future world where women are simply egg donors, and a third surrounding the author of a modern book being written about one of the 19th century pioneers of antisepsis. This is a book for mothers and fathers and those who are about to embark on parenthood.

Extract

Another pain, and Brigid breathed more deeply, her instincts beginning to help her. She was planetary in her girth, an ancient breeding cow. She was whole with child, swollen beyond any size that seemed proportionate or reasonable. She was entirely child, she felt; her body had been colonised. It was not herself, as she had been, she had become someone else; it made her uncertain if she really had a self at all. She was surely half-mad, her brain stewed in hormones, yet now she took Calumn in her arms, tickling him under the chin. He turned to her, smiled toothily, said 'Mamma', and she said, 'Hello baby. Hello, hello lovely baby baby', and he said 'Ahdoorschnefatibumaha', some proto-talk she couldn’t interpret. She kissed his warm soft skin, breathed in the wafting beautiful smell of him, baby shampoo and milk.

Parallels
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Facial Justice by L P Hartley
  • Little Stranger by Kate Pullinger