cover image Winter's Child

Winter's Child

Dea T. Morch, Dea Trier Mrch. University of Nebraska Press, $25 (271pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-3101-6

A prenatal ward in a hospital, sanctuary for expectant mothers having difficult pregnancies, is a grim enough format. Coupled with biologically exact details of deliveries, postnatal care of borderline infants andshould words not sufficeline drawings by the author of women delivering, expelling placentas and pumping out breasts, the chances of novelistic success seem limited indeed. But Danish author Morch surmounts these obstacles in this compelling work with strong feminist overtones. The reader is drawn into the life of a Copenhagen hospital ward, and made to care about each of the different young women portrayed here. Marie Hansen, who reads Marx on the labor theory of value until her pains begin, is the book's core, the progress not only of her pregnancy but of her premature baby's struggles for life meticulously charted. Other women and their families are also brought into focus; nurses and midwives, the occasional doctor, have their own individuality. The permutations of waiting for a baby generate the excitement and suspense of a first-class whodunit. The booka European bestseller and the basis of an award-winning filmis an exceptional reading experience. (June 20)