Still Born, Guadalupe Nettel’s fourth novel, treats one of the most consequential decisions of early adulthood – whether or not to have children – with the intelligence and originality that have won her international acclaim. Alina and Laura are independent and career-driven women in their mid-thirties, neither of whom have built their future around the prospect of a family. Laura has taken the drastic decision to be sterilized, but as time goes by Alina becomes drawn to the idea of becoming a mother. When complications arise in Alina’s pregnancy and Laura becomes attached to her neighbour’s son, both women are forced to reckon with the complexity of their emotions. In prose that is as gripping as it is insightful, Guadalupe Nettel explores maternal ambivalence with a surgeon’s touch, carefully dissecting the contradictions that make up the lived experiences of women.
‘Still Born is an astonishingly elegant, intelligent, affecting novel, which has stayed in my mind from the moment I began it to long after I finished. I felt a huge sense of relief that I had encountered a work of art about ambivalence in mothering which encompassed a true authentic range of emotions and curiosities – vanity, aggression, jealousy and selfishness – with sanguine acceptance, as well as the beautiful and difficult project of giving and sustaining love which marks all our lives, mothers or otherwise.’
― Megan Nolan, author of Acts of Desperation
‘In Still Born, Guadalupe Nettel renders with great veracity life as it is encountered in the everyday, taking us to the heart of the only things that really matter: life, death and our relationships with others. All of these are contained in the experience of motherhood, which this novel explores and deepens.’
― Annie Ernaux, author of The Years
‘Nettel is one of the leading lights in contemporary Latin American literature…. I envy how naturally she makes use of language; her resistance to ornamentation and artifice; and the almost stoic fortitude with which she dispenses her profound and penetrating knowledge of human nature.’
― Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive
‘I read Still Born in less than a day. It is perfect: deeply feminist, wise, funny and alive. Nettel is generous to each of her characters, and in prose that is crisp and light. I love this book.’
― Yara Rodrigues Fowler, author of there are more things
‘I love the work of Guadalupe Nettel, one of Mexico’s greatest living writers. Her fiction is brilliant and original, always suffused with sensuality and strange science.’
― Paul Theroux, author of The Mosquito Coast
‘An unflinching, compassionate meditation on mothers, daughters and sisters – both blood-related and chosen – Still Born stirred me and consoled me, renewing my faith in the power of women’s communities. Guadalupe Nettel has managed the impossible task of writing a work of both exacting honesty and immense tenderness, on one of the most delicate topics.’
― Livia Franchini, author of Shelf Life
‘Still Born is a startling novel about whatever it is that drives adults to take care of children, and all the many things that make that care painful and sometimes impossible. There is a quiet force to the poised and deliberate writing. The novel is a deep exploration of affection and vulnerability.’
― Caleb Klaces, author of Fatherhood
‘Guadalupe Nettel reminds us that there is nothing stranger than our existence lived in containers of meat, blood and madness.’
― Mariana Enríquez, author of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed
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