After Birth (Hardcover)
Terrible title. Incredible novel. The writing is electric, the characters equal parts dazzling and damaged, the content purely original. There is not artifice here—just verve. You may get whiplash from the swerves between righteous anger and gallows humor; you may even drown in the choppy waves of feminism; but you will not be able to stop reading. I haven’t been this transfixed by a writer in years.
-- Rachel— From Rachel W. Staff Picks
April 2015 Indie Next List
“Ari is the profane, generous, poetic, desperate, loving, and terrified best friend we all hope for. Sleep-deprived and thrumming with the electricity of new motherhood, Ari stumbles upon pockets of community support in places both expected and unexpected that cut through her small-town isolation and the clutch of postpartum depression. Albert wields humor like a blade in relaying Ari's thoughts, and she is a master of conveying the gorgeous struggle of birth and all that comes after.”
— Katie Presley, Book People, Austin, TX
A widely acclaimed young writer's fierce novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zone
A year has passed since Ari gave birth to Walker, though it went so badly awry she has trouble calling it "birth" and still she can't locate herself in her altered universe. Amid the strange, disjointed rhythms of her days and nights and another impending winter in upstate New York, Ari is a tree without roots, struggling to keep her branches aloft.
When Mina, a one-time cult musician -- older, self-contained, alone, and nine-months pregnant --moves to town, Ari sees the possibility of a new friend, despite her unfortunate habit of generally mistrusting women. Soon they become comrades-in-arms, and the previously hostile terrain seems almost navigable.
With piercing insight, purifying anger, and outrageous humor, Elisa Albert issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives. Like Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin and Anne Enright's The Gathering, this is a daring and resonant novel from one of our most visceral writers.