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Little Labors (Hardcover)

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An uncategorizable book of essay and observation about motherhood, writing, and so much more. Little Labors puts in relief the whimsy, folly, and humor of the everyday, much in the way that Sei Shonagon accomplished in her unclassifiable classic The Pillow Book. Galchen's kaleidoscopic perspective on life events is truly delightful, never straying far from a sharp and witty attention to humanity.

— From Our Best of the Year 2016: Nonfiction


Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book--a key inspiration for Rivka Galchen's new book--contains a list of "Things That Make One Nervous." And wouldn't the blessed event top almost anyone's list?

Little Labors is a slanted, enchanted literary miscellany. Varying in length from just a sentence or paragraph to a several-page story or essay, Galchen's puzzle pieces assemble into a shining, unpredictable, mordant picture of the ordinary-extraordinary nature of babies and literature. Anecdotal or analytic, each part opens up an odd and tender world of wonder. The 47 Ronin; the black magic of maternal love; babies morphing from pumas to chickens; the quasi-repellent concept of "women writers"; origami-ophilia in Oklahoma as a gateway drug to a lifelong obsession with Japan; discussions of favorite passages from the Heian masterpieces Genji and The Pillow Book; the frightening prevalence of orange as today's new chic color for baby gifts; Frankenstein as a sort of baby; babies gold mines; babies as tiny Godzillas ...

Little Labors-atomized and exploratory, conceptually byzantine and freshly forthright-delights.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811225588
ISBN-10: 0811225585
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 136
Language: English