Motherhood was named #1 book of the year by New York magazine; was a New York Times Critics Pick of 2018, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize.
It was chosen as a Best Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement, The Globe and Mail, The Chicago Tribune, NPR, Bustle, Lit Hub, Refinery 29, and Bookforum.
It is being translated into Chinese, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, Slovene, Greek, Turkish, Dutch, Norwegian, Hungarian and Swedish.
Read press in
The Atlantic by Adam Kirsch (review)
Refinery 29 by Kate Leaver (profile/review)
The New York Times by Dwight Garner (review)
The New Yorker by Alexandra Schwartz (review)
The Baffler by Lauren Oyler (critique of the reviews)
PRAISE FOR MOTHERHOOD
"This inquiry into the modern woman’s moral, social and psychological relationship to procreation is an illumination, a provocation, and a response—finally—to the new norms of femininity, formulated from the deepest reaches of female intellectual authority. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Sheila Heti has broken new ground, both in her maturity as an artist and in the possibilities of the female discourse itself."
-- Rachel Cusk, author of Outline and Transit
"I read this novel more quickly and eagerly than any I've read in ages. Sheila Heti's simple, elegant sentences invariably give pleasure; her thinking is incisive and wholly original as she grapples with the kind of unhappiness that many of us, myself included, prefer to distract ourselves from rather than look at squarely. Reading Motherhood forced me to become a little more honest with myself."
-- Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.
"Reading this beautiful novel, I felt I was watching a brilliant mind invent new tools for thinking. Sheila Heti wrings revelation from the act of asking, again and again, in ever more challenging and innovative ways, impossible questions of existence. Motherhood is a thrilling, very funny, and almost unbearably moving book.”
-- Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
"I deeply enjoyed Sheila Heti's fractal, meticulous, and twinklingly self-aware book—in which every part seemed to know, and be informed by, every other part—about art and time and change and books and babies. Motherhood synergistically functions both as an intimate, moving, autobiographical novel and as a practical, mysterious, five-year tool used by its protagonist to help her contemplate and answer central questions in her life. I think of Motherhood as a beautiful, natural, living thing—a rare tree in the car-filled parking lot of literature, offering aesthetic and sustainable pleasures while also bristling with multiple, helpful, compassionate functions in the world. The high stakes, complexity, intensity, playfulness, seriousness, and inter-dimensionality of Motherhood's synthesis of art and life, of the imagination and the universe, makes me excited about both life and literature. I recommend reading and rereading Motherhood."
-- Tao Lin, author of Trip, Shoplifting from American Apparel and Taipei
"Here is finally is. A book for all of you who are considering having a baby, who had a baby, who didn’t have a baby, who didn’t want a baby, who don’t know what they want but the clock is ticking anyway. This topic is finally tackled as if it were the most important decision in your life. Because, um. How lucky are we that one of our foremost thinkers took this upon herself, for years, in real time, wrestling every day and living to tell. So fucking ready to live in the world this book will help make. Read and discuss, discuss, discuss. This book is going to change how we think about life and women forever; like ancient Greek philosopher level of describing reality in a way that creates it. So, go or don't go, read the book or don't -- either way your life will be changed by this thinker. I'm being serious here.”
-- Miranda July, filmmaker and author of The First Bad Man
"The book Sheila Heti’s Motherhood reminds me of the most is Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, except that the agonizing decision is whether to create a child, and not whether to destroy one—but it’s that good, and that crazy-making. I’ve never seen anyone write about the relationship between childlessness, writing, and mother’s sadnesses the way Sheila Heti does. I know Motherhood is going to mean a lot to many different people—fully as much so as if it was a human that Sheila gave birth to—though in a different and in fact incommensurate way. That’s just one of many paradoxes that are not shied away from in this courageous, necessary, visionary book."
--Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot and The Possessed
"An emotionally complex novel about motherhood that isn't about children. An intricately constructed book based on games of chance. This feels new."
--Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
"With each of her novels, Sheila Heti invents a new novel form. Motherhood is a riveting story of love and fate, a powerful inspiration to reflect, and a subtle depiction of the lives of contemporary women and men, by an exceptional artist in the prime of her powers. Motherhood constitutes its own genre within the many-faceted novel of ideas. Heti is like no one else."
-- Mark Greif, author of Against Everything