Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Top ten novels about childbirth

Bethan Roberts's novels are The Pools, The Good Plain Cook, My Policeman, and Mother Island.

At the Guardian she tagged her top ten novels about childbirth, including:
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I read this whilst pregnant and was delighted to find, hidden in the most famous European novel about adultery, illicit passion and moral codes (and almost everything else besides), Dolly's thoughts about the bleak drudgery of pregnancy and childbirth. Of all the sentences I'd expected to find in a novel by Tolstoy, this was not one of them: "Darya Alexandrovna shuddered at the mere recollection of the pain from cracked nipples that she had endured with almost every child." Tolstoy understood.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Anna Karenina also appears on Hannah Jane Parkinson's list of the ten worst couples in literature, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epigraphs, Amelia Schonbek's list of three classic novels that pass the Bechdel test, Rachel Thompson's top ten list of the greatest deaths in fiction, Melissa Albert's recommended reading list for eight villains, Alison MacLeod's top ten list of stories about infidelity, David Denby's six favorite books list, Howard Jacobson's list of his five favorite literary heroines, Eleanor Birne's top ten list of books on motherhood, Esther Freud's top ten list of love stories, Chika Unigwe's six favorite books list, Elizabeth Kostova's list of favorite books, James Gray's list of best books, Marie Arana's list of the best books about love, Ha Jin's most important books list, Tom Perrotta's ten favorite books list, Claire Messud's list of her five most important books, Alexander McCall Smith's list of his five most important books, Mohsin Hamid's list of his ten favorite books, Louis Begley's list of favorite novels about cheating lovers, and among the top ten works of literature according to Peter Carey and Norman Mailer. John Mullan put it on his lists of ten of the best erotic dreams in literature, ten of the best coups de foudre in literature, ten of the best births in literature, ten of the best ice-skating episodes in literature, and ten of the best balls in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue