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Eleven Hours Paperback – 2 Mar 2017
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Childbirth, this uniquely female form of heroism, is rarely documented in our literature, and I've never seen it rendered with the extraordinary insight, urgency, and potency of Eleven Hours -- Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! Gorgeous, harrowing, and intensely urgent - I can't stop thinking about this book -- Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans I loved Eleven Hours... A gorgeous, haunting, slender novel -- Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist A story about birth, which is to say a story about life and death... A novel with the -adrenaline-rush pacing of an action movie * New York Times * Exhilarating * Wall Street Journal * Extraordinary * Boston Globe * Intense, provocative...a deeply rewarding high-wire act * The National *
A fierce and fearless novel of complicated pasts, uncertain futures and of the organic, bloody beauty of childbirth and motherhood.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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As soon as I saw the cover of the book, I knew I just had to read it. As a mother myself, I wanted to read about other people's experiences, find out about labour from another aspect as opposed to being the one IN labour. After reading a couple of pages, it soon dawned on me that this book wasn't going to be a typical 'in labour' type book. Definitely not along the same lines of 'One Born Every Minute'. Coming to that realisation wasn't a bad thing, but it certainly tested my concentration skills as the storyline is very deep and complex. 'Eleven Hours' isn't the sort of book you can read expecting the story to talk to you all the time, you have to tune into the characters and circumstances just as much. If you're not used to doing that, it can be quite a quite an intricate way of reading.
When it comes to giving birth and everything leading up to it, it's not straightforward as many of you are aware. There are the birth plans detailing how the mother-to-be wishes things to be carried out. But what Pamela Erens mentions in the story is that when you have a woman from a different culture, the birth plan then becomes even more complex. Keep that in mind but then add a midwife from another culture. A midwife who has seen a lot of births and tragedies (for both the mother AND the child). Certain things are frowned upon in various cultures, so every mother-to-be that walked into the hospital within the book, had their own stories to tell.
Before reading 'Eleven Hours', I was unaware of how complex giving birth was in different countries, what things couldn't be done, and what limited things could be done. Many times I felt like I was walking the hospital corridor with both of the women featured in the book. It was such an eye-opening experience and written with copious amounts of emotion that it even brought back my labour with my daughter. Not that I had forgotten it mind you.
I had my fingers crossed that the birth would be okay, no complications and that both mother and baby would be perfect; tired, but perfect. However, I was so hopeful that it tuned into my emotions and I began to cry. Motherly instinct I guess.
Pamela Erens has written such a deep and meaningful story that switches between the lives of two completely different women and their individual circumstances. Yes, the book made me think, and sometimes I found it quite difficult to keep track of what was going on. I didn't want to give up on the book though, I had to find out how it ended. Pamela Erens had me captivated with the storyline and by the end of the book I was emotionally drained from walking the same journey as the two ladies.
Powerful and poignant from start to finish, a book that I will always remember for multiple reasons. Mind blowing.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Erens skillfully weaves the two women’s stories together. We glide from one perspective to the other, and in those pauses between contractions we learn the backstories of both women. Their stories are fascinating and it must have been tempting to make this a longer book with more details on the lives of both women. But this is a story of a delivery.
I’m sure that this will find a large audience of women readers. I hope that men will read it too. It’s an action story. The tension and drama are almost unbearable. When Lore got to eight centimeters there was no way I could put the book down until I was finished.
I would give this book six stars if I could.
The story of childbirth was not satisfyingly integrated into the story of Lore's betrayal by her husband and best friend. Both stories were very interesting and well told, but neither was brought to a conclusion that left me feeling that the stories were finished. And then Franckline's story seemed to be dropped in the middle too. This could have been a great book.