Review: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
When “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife” came across my digital desk I thought, “Oh, more dystopia. Okay, can do.” and kept browsing my digital slush pile. Never have I regretted not dropping everything and diving into a book on the spot more.
The premise is not a new one, but is as relevant today as it has ever been, if not more so in a world where many see feminism as a threat. The Supervirus springs from nowhere, decimating the population in general, but striking hardest at women and children. Almost overnight, the birth rate drops to zero, pregnancies inevitably ending in stillbirths, grieving mothers almost invariably following in fever. In time, the survivors begin to rebuild and realize that the female of the species has become rare.
And the hunt is on.
Lets be clear, this isn’t “The Hunger Games”. This is on level with Margaret Atwood’s MadAdam trio, or “The Handmaid’s Tale”. This is Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower”. This is an unflinching look at what humanity could become when the primal need to reproduce becomes paramount. Elison grabs you by the face immediately and doesn’t let go until she drops you once again into the post-disaster society, and leaves you there, desperately wanting more.
This novel won the Phillip K Dick award in 2014 as a small press release, and is now being republished by Amazon under it’s 47North imprint. I urge all my Sci-Fi and Dystopia reading adults to pick this up ASAP, as Meg Elison is definitely one to watch, and I hear she’s working on a sequel.