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Little Labors by [Galchen, Rivka]
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Little Labors Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 136 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Galchen has a knack for taking a thread and fraying it, so that a sentence never quite ends up where you expect.”
- James Wood, The New Yorker

“Little Labors has range. It contemplates both “the royalty of infants” and the uselessness of babies (compared to other animals). It’s rare to find a work of likewise small stature grow so ponderously into such an expansive, magnanimous, and living thing. Like a child ― if you want ― or a book with meaning.”
- Jonathon Sturgeon, Flavorwire

“Galchen's implicit proposition ― that babies can be the subject of serious art, that we may coo and think simultaneously ― feels surprising, even radical, in a world where motherhood and intellectualism are still placed instinctively at odds. It may be a little book, but it is not a small one.”
- NPR

“To read Rivka Galchen is to enter a wonderland where the bizarre and the mundane march in unlikely lockstep.”
- Michael Lindgren, The Washington Post

“In Little Labors, a highly original book of essays and observations, Rivka Galchen writes, “The world seemed ludicrously, suspiciously, adverbially sodden with meaning.” The birth of her daughter, she observes, “made me again more like a writer ... precisely as she was making me into someone who was, enduringly, not ­writing.” [...] I adore Galchen’s quiet, and the bravery of this book’s fragments. You get the sly sense reading this book that you are not seeing the whole writer; there is a sleight of hand ― something only partially revealed ― so that the fragments glow more. Her kaleidoscopic subjects leap from the literary to the mundane and back again. In discussing the form of “The Pillow Book,” an 11th-century miscellany written by a Japanese lady of the court, Galchen writes that she associates the book with “the ‘small’ as opposed to the ‘minor.’” This is an important distinction, and, I think, a defense of her own form. [...] Galchen writes of children: “Their arrival feels supernatural, they seem to come from another world, life near them takes on a certain unaccountable richness, and they are certain, eventually, to leave you.” Given the tenderness of that situation (life’s richness or design flaw), how can we as writers, and as people, not pay attention? I am happy that Galchen did, and I am confident that many mothers (and other sleepless readers) will pick up this book and feel that they have found an unexpectedly intimate friend.”
- The New York Times Book Review

“Little Labors offer a glimpse into an unknown future, a chance for women still unsure about children to see how their lives and minds might change.”
- New Republic

“This essay collection from fiction and science writer Rivka Galchen is not your mother's motherhood lit. Brief, gemlike reflections on adjusting to life under the rule of a baby daughter (called 'the puma') are interwoven with literary and historical references. It's a book that will ring both familiar and strange.”
- Anya Kamenetz, NPR

“Galchen is, for my money, one of the most gifted stylists writing in American English today. Her funniness is otherworldly; she is the reigning champion of litotes, or understatement for effect. Preternaturally deft, Galchen can do almost anything with next to nothing.”
- Los Angeles Review of Books

Little Labors is a short, beguiling book about babies. About babies in art (with wrongly shaped heads), about babies in literature (rare, often monstrous), and about the arrival of a baby in author Rivka Galchen’s apartment.It is not a novel, nor a memoir, nor exactly is it an essay. It is more a wunderkabinett of baby-related curios. There are anecdotes about the effort of obtaining a passport for the baby, about homeless men’s reaction to the baby, about a mean neighbor who repeatedly asks whether the baby is abnormally large. There are lists, of authors with and without kids, and of “mother writers” which includes Elena Ferrante and Sarah Manguso, and also, “two of the most celebrated,” Karl Ove Knausgaard and Louie C.K. There are ruminations on class, taste, Godzilla, Rumpelstiltskin, the color orange, screens. It is a peculiar book, and astonishing in its effect.”
- Boston Globe

“As Galchen adeptly demonstrates, the pram in the hall is no longer the sombre enemy of good art―ignoring it is.”
- Gavin Tomson, Maisonneuve

About the Author

RIVKA GALCHEN’s 2008 first novel Atmospheric Disturbances and her 2014 story collection American Innovations were both New York Times Best Books of the Year. She received her MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Conspicuously talented” (Time), Galchen lives in New York City.

Product details

  • File Size: 427 KB
  • Print Length: 136 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (May 17, 2016)
  • Publication Date: May 17, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01E9EHXAW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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