02/20/2015 05:31 pm ET Updated Feb 20, 2015

"Having A Baby Is Not Unlike Dealing With A Death"

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Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia and How This Night Is Different, has written a wildly insightful and hilarious new novel about motherhood and female friendship. After Birth tells the story of Ari, a young mother who’s dealing with something like postpartum depression, seeing through a newly polished magnifying glass what it means to be a woman in our society. Appropriately, the novel reads at times like a rant—sort of a feminist Portnoy’s Complaint set in a world where women squirt their breast milk into the air and cheer. Traumatized by the cesarean section birth of her 1-year-old son and by the isolation of raising a child in upstate New York without much family or community, Ari meets a kindred spirit—another flailing new mother and former rock star, Mina. The two women pass the days together in a kind of Utopian community of four. I talked to Albert about writing and feminism and what it means to not be “one of the girls.”

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