Pregnant Words

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In the New York Times, Rachel Cusk takes on two new memoirs about infertility and the quest for motherhood to explore the wholly compelling “half-analogy between the writing student and the woman embarking on in vitro fertilization.” Julia Leigh’s Avalanche relates six years of the author’s trying and ultimately failing to get pregnant; Belle Boggs, in The Art of Waiting, uses Virginia Woolf’s account of childlessness to explore her own. Cusk writes:

To be a writer, to be a mother: The more these desires are separated from their object (to be the writer of what, to be the mother of whom?), the more they seem to represent not the reaching out of creativity but the inward obstinacy of personal will.


Kirstin Allio is currently a Howard Foundation Fellow at Brown University. Her story collection, Clothed, Female Figure comes out with Dzanc in 2016. Her novel, Garner (Coffee House), was a finalist for the LA Times Book Award for First Fiction. She has received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” Award, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and has published many short stories, poems, and essays. More from this author →