The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Book - 2014
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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016 and Philip K. Dick Award Winner

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth's population--killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant--the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power--and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men's clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she'll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

Publisher: Seattle, WA : 47North, ©2014.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781503939110
Characteristics: 291 pages ; 21 cm.


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From the critics

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Aug 13, 2020

Great post apocalyptic story. Easy to read. Interesting. Fast moving. A good little pandemic with a twist for those survivors. If you are offended by elements of LGBTQ, you are warned. Otherwise, it is a great story of human survivial plight, characteristics and behaviours. Parts of the book are written as diaries of various characters. Strong female lead. Great new author. I read this book in record time and have the 2nd and 3rd books on hold.

Mar 15, 2019

I so dislike small print, but this held my attention well past time I should have put it down to save the eyesight. Reviews are really broad. I liked it for the imagination she used as to what one might be prepared to do - as a female - and only the young will survive. I totally agree with her perspective that men will rule with ruthless behavior. The Golden Rule, those with the gold rule & men will have the power. Agreed, she focuses on the negative, the destruction, not the rebuild, but to me that was brutally realistic. I do believe in pandemics.

Pertaining to the young woman with a child...When I came to the dialog on page 149 about the 'new covenant' of the religious believers I chuckled & it became full out laughter at this belief system. Those who live in the insulated, isolated systems will be in for a rude awakening. I laugh at those who spend time with 'reality' programs such as the dating one, the house sharing one, etc. will have no clue to survival in a new world - the reality. I thought of Wild from recent films.

One review comments on comparison to Station Eleven that I found pertinent. I do look forward to the next book. I tried to overlook the sexual contexts, to each their own without making judgements I know nothing about.

Jan 12, 2019

Really enjoyed this book, though it is pretty bleak. Read it in one sitting and looking forward to the next book.

Dec 28, 2018

Totally into post-apocalyptic dystopian novels and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Surprised and extremely happy to find out it was the first of a trilogy. I took this book to the beach and reserved the second book The Book of Etta for when I came home. No, these kind of books are not for everybody as this one shows a very unpleasant future for women (similar to Handmaid's Tale). The third novel The Book of Flora will be available May 2019!!

Feb 07, 2018

I love post-apocalyptic fiction and was really excited to find one such novel with a bisexual heroine, but was deeply disappointed by this very mediocre book. The writing is neither great nor terrible, and the apocalypse (clearly written by someone that doesn't understand viral evolution) a little too indebted to other stories. But I could handle that. The problem is that the best post-apocalyptic fiction gives you both a sense of the world breaking down, and the work it takes to build it up, but this author really only cared about the despair side of things. She gave very gory details of the breakdown, but seemed to get bored and skip things whenever rebuilding took place, making the ending nonsensical and the book depressing in ways that didn't feel earned. Also the underlying ideas, which are important in speculative fiction, felt half-baked. This is a feminist novel in which relationships between women are always negative (usually because other women are too stupid to appreciate the nameless heroine), and a ostensibly left-wing novel that promotes some very right-wing ideas about a heroic lone wolf with a gun. But I never felt the author was exploring the interesting contradictions in her ideas; instead, it just felt like she hadn't thought things through, like a cynical teenager. It's an absorbing enough to read on a plane, but I can't recommend it.

Aug 23, 2017

While by no means the worst book I've read in 2017 - it was still really boring and unoriginal, it was almost a paint by numbers post apocalypse. If I hadn't read Station Eleven this year I would have labeled it the worst post-apoc story I had ever read. At least it wasn't poorly written, it was just so... meh.

Mar 31, 2017

This novel hit a home run for this old sailor touching on all of my very favorite genre's. I would describe it as feminist, dystopian, post-apocalyptic survival story with Mormons! The only thing missing were Scientologists and drug addiction or this would have been the perfect novel. I can only hope that when the Trumpocalypse occurs I have enough MRE's, swords, cardio, knives and literature to get me through, because Lord knows I have done my research and have a fairly good picture of what it's going to look like and who, what and where to avoid.

Mar 15, 2017

WHOA! Going between starkly written journal entries from the "unnamed midwife" and 3rd person narrator who fills in some of the details, this book weaves a post-apocalyptic tale that had me turning pages late into the night. Follow this awesome character as she deals with being one of the few women left on earth, and see how she carries out her bold mission.
Heads up: graphic imagery (violence, etc.) and language

PimaLib_SierraG Jan 18, 2017

I highly recommend this book for fans of Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" or the 2006 movie "Children of Men". This story deals with the traumatic end of the world by plague scenario that many of us know, however, Elison's story focuses on certain women's issues that many of the end of days books overlook. Child-bearing has become nearly impossible and the descreased population of women who survived has factured society even further. Into this world walks the midwife, a cautious survivor who is going to use all her wits and training to try to provide what succor she can for those other women who have survived whether that means providing birth-control shots or shooting away men who won't take no for an answer.
Dark story that deals with possibly triggering situations but uses those darker elements for the purposes of bettery story-telling.


Add Age Suitability
Jun 30, 2017

LisaMabley thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

PimaLib_SierraG Jan 18, 2017

PimaLib_SierraG thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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