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Little Labors (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I love this tiny little book about new motherhood. Though I am not a new mother, this book made me laugh, tear up, then laugh some more. It's a great book for the new mother who is also very well-read; funny, tender, addictive, and surprising, I loved Little Labors.

— From Mike's Picks


Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book--a key inspiration for Rivka Galchen's new book--contains a list of "Things That Make One Nervous." And wouldn't the blessed event top almost anyone's list?

Little Labors is a slanted, enchanted literary miscellany. Varying in length from just a sentence or paragraph to a several-page story or essay, Galchen's puzzle pieces assemble into a shining, unpredictable, mordant picture of the ordinary-extraordinary nature of babies and literature. Anecdotal or analytic, each part opens up an odd and tender world of wonder. The 47 Ronin; the black magic of maternal love; babies morphing from pumas to chickens; the quasi-repellent concept of "women writers"; origami-ophilia in Oklahoma as a gateway drug to a lifelong obsession with Japan; discussions of favorite passages from the Heian masterpieces Genji and The Pillow Book; the frightening prevalence of orange as today's new chic color for baby gifts; Frankenstein as a sort of baby; babies gold mines; babies as tiny Godzillas ...

Little Labors-atomized and exploratory, conceptually byzantine and freshly forthright-delights.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811225588
ISBN-10: 0811225585
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 136
Language: English