Brood

Jackie Polzin. Doubleday, $24 (240p) ISBN 978-0-385-54675-1
In Polzin’s witty and profound debut, an unnamed narrator reflects on her flock of chickens and her dwindling hopes of becoming a mother. As the unnamed narrator and her economist husband, Percy, work to keep their four chickens alive through a year of extreme Minnesota weather, Percy is in the running for a professorship at a university in California. While Percy awaits job news, a move that would necessitate leaving the chickens behind, the narrator processes the loss of a miscarried child. With their odds for having a child growing slim (“I had hoped to outweigh the risks of pregnancy at my age with sheer desire,” the narrator muses), the couple turn their attention to the birds, “an endless source of entertainment and worry.” What astounds is Polzin’s ability to draw such deep understanding of the couple through their interactions with the chickens, which live only in the moment: “Do the chickens think of warmer times? They do not. By the time a snowflake has landed, snowflakes are all a chicken has ever known. Theirs is a world of only snowflakes or only not.” The narrative is full of such sharp, distinctive observations as the narrator works to move on from her desire to have children. Told in short vignettes studded with breath-catching wisdom, this novel feels both delicate and sustaining from beginning to end. Agent: Molly Friedrich, the Friedrich Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/15/2020
Release date: 03/09/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-0-593-31133-2
Book - 978-0-385-54676-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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