The Nursery by Szilvia Molnar
From Pantheon Books:
“Brilliant…an essential and surprisingly thrilling book about motherhood” —New York Times
“A radical novel…I’m obsessed with this book.” —Jessamine Chan, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers
A remarkable debut novel about the early postpartum days of motherhood: a visceral and revelatory portrait of a woman struggling with maternal fear and its looming madness, showing how difficult and fragile those days can be, and how vital love is to pull anyone out from the dark
There is the before and the after. Withering in the maternal prison of her apartment, a new mother finds herself spiraling into a state of complete disaffection. As a translator, she is usually happy to spend her days as the invisible interpreter. But now home alone with her newborn, she is ill at ease with this state of perpetual giving, carrying, feeding. The instinct to keep her baby safe conflicts with the intrusive thoughts of causing the baby harm, and she struggles to reclaim her identity just as it seems to dissolve from underneath her.
Feeling isolated from her supportive but ineffectual husband, she strikes up a tentative friendship with her ailing upstairs neighbour, Peter, who hushes the baby with his oxygen tank in tow. But they are both running out of time; something is soon to crack. Joyful early days of her pregnancy mingle with the anxious arrival of the baby, and culminate in a painful confrontation – mostly, between our narrator and herself. Striking and emotive, The Nursery documents the slow process of staggering back towards the simple pleasures of life and reentering the world after post-partum depression.