The Nursery is a devastating and visceral depiction of early postpartum days of a new Mom, a time of unraveling and transformation, of a person losing their identity to become a body, its only function to sustain life. In powerful & precise prose it reveals the private madness and demands of motherhood. Required reading.
A "brilliant...essential and surprisingly thrilling book about motherhood" (The New York Times) and the early postpartum days, following a woman struggling with maternal fear and its looming madness and showing how difficult and fragile those days can be—and how vital love is to pull anyone out from the dark
“A radical novel...I’m obsessed with this book.” —Jessamine Chan, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers
There is the before and the after. Withering in the maternal prison of her apartment, a new mother finds herself spiraling into a state of complete disaffection. As a translator, she is usually happy to spend her days as the invisible interpreter. But now home alone with her newborn, she is ill at ease with this state of perpetual giving, carrying, feeding. The instinct to keep her baby safe conflicts with the intrusive thoughts of causing the baby harm, and she struggles to reclaim her identity just as it seems to dissolve from underneath her.
Feeling isolated from her supportive but ineffectual husband, she strikes up a tentative friendship with her ailing upstairs neighbour, Peter, who hushes the baby with his oxygen tank in tow. But they are both running out of time; something is soon to crack. Joyful early days of her pregnancy mingle with the anxious arrival of the baby, and culminate in a painful confrontation – mostly, between our narrator and herself. Striking and emotive, The Nursery documents the slow process of staggering back towards the simple pleasures of life and reentering the world after post-partum depression.
About the Author
SZILVIA MOLNAR is the foreign rights director at a New York-based literary agency, and author of a chapbook called Soft Split. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Lit Hub, Triangle House Review, Two Serious Ladies, The Buenos Aires Review, and Neue Rundschau. Szilvia is from Budapest and was raised in Sweden. She lives in Austin, Texas.
"Brilliant . . . an essential and surprisingly thrilling book about motherhood . . . . Molnar’s book, with its nameless protagonist and oppressive non-eventfulness and cool prose, suggests the work of a number of contemporaries — Ottessa Moshfegh, Sheila Heti — but in the end it’s Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 short story, 'The Yellow Wallpaper,' that’s the most apt shelfmate. We are watching a consciousness unravel.” —New York Times
"Molnar has written a daring and much-needed novel that has some of the hothouse, unflinching quality of Sylvia Plath’s late poetry." —Atlantic
"A powerful brew of a novel, emitting unpleasant sights, smells, and emotions that are rarely captured in print; it is frequently disquieting in its brutal, insistent candor." —LitHub
"Molnar's debut, about the first few sleep-decimated weeks in the life of a new mother...brings this particularly mind-eviscerating state of affairs into startlingly sharp relief in this uncompromising novel. And yet this is also an oddly affirmative novel, alive with a dangerous self-aware humor." —Daily Mail
"Molnar’s wellspring is universal; her features are particularly of our moment; and her flourishes of darkness let in the sublime...The Nursery deserves to be widely read." —Compact Magazine
"Told with radical honesty and emotional precision, The Nursery is an essential addition to the growing canon of literary works reckoning with the complexities of motherhood." —The Millions
"The Nursery dares to question the inviolable dictates of a mother’s love when a human is reduced to her suffering" —BOMB Magazine (Editor's Choice)
"An important, unromanticized look at the instant, drastic changes new motherhood can bring" —Library Journal
"Molnar’s entrancing debut captures the volatile inner life of a woman with postpartum depression...a powerful look at what a new mother endures." —Publishers Weekly
“A radical novel...Szilvia Molnar’s astounding debut demonstrates that the intricate workings of the female mind deserve our most reverent attention. I’m obsessed with this book.” —Jessamine Chan, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good Mothers
"An essential, singular contribution to the literature of mothering as a human, embodied, fundamentally existential experience." —Merritt Tierce, author of Love me Back
"The Nursery dares to put a woman's body at the center of the story, a book as frightening as it is profound, as gory as it's beautiful, a reeling vision of postpartum experience unlike any." —Louisa Hall, author of Speak and Trinity
"With unsparing, hypnotic, and fearless prose, Szilvia Molnar captures the texture, rhythms, and agonies of the post-partum body and mind. The Nursery is a work of devastating elegance." —Patrick Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
“A concise, powerful novel on bringing art and life into the world, by a beautiful prose stylist. Molnar's precision and phenomenal ear for language gives us new words for the oldest experience.” —Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State
“Szilvia Molnar's portrait of the postpartum world is ruthlessly true and exacting. It was electrifying to experience the days of early motherhood through Molnar's razor sharp realism and wit.” —Rita Bullwinkel, author of Belly Up: Stories
“Szilvia Molnar's debut is a fierce psychological novel...The Nursery is powered by the shape of Molnar's imagination but also the brutal truth of personal experience.” —Jessica Anthony, author of Enter the Aardvark