Saturday, April 08, 2006

#26 - The Birth House

I had picked up Ami McKay's The Birth House a while ago, read the prologue and decided that it might not be the book for me (I thought the prose might be just a tad overwrought). But after hearing such good things about the book from, well, just about everywhere, happily, I gave it another chance and ended up quite enjoying the novel.

The book tells the story of Dora Rare, the only woman born in generations of boys, who grows up in Scots Bay, Nova Scotia around the time of the First World War. Taken under the wing of Miss B., a local legendary healer, Dora becomes a midwife. Much of the conflict in the book revolves around the arrival of a Dr. Gilbert Thomas, an obstetrician determined to take the 'pain' out of birth at his new hospital, and an almost metaphorical battle of the sexes erupts as the women hold on to their own traditions.

It's almost a folkart piece of fiction, with newspaper clippings, letters, journal entries and remedies intertwined with the story itself. McKay's voice, as Joan Clark points out on the cover, is "fresh as a loaf of bread," and I'd have to agree.

So it looks like I'm getting to finish a book every other day, slightly off my original goals, but I'm doing all right. My wish is to make it to 30 or so before I have to back to work on Monday!

No comments: