Still Born, Guadalupe Nettel’s fourth novel, treats one of the most consequential decisions of early adulthood – whether or not to have children – with the intelligence and originality that have won her international acclaim. Alina and Laura are independent and career-driven women in their mid-thirties, neither of whom have built their future around the prospect of a family. Laura has taken the drastic decision to be sterilized, but as time goes by Alina becomes drawn to the idea of becoming a mother. When Alina’s daughter survives childbirth – after a diagnosis that predicted the opposite – and Laura becomes attached to her neighbour’s son, both women are forced to reckon with the complexity of their emotions.
In prose that is as gripping as it is insightful, Guadalupe Nettel explores maternal ambivalence with a surgeon’s touch, carefully dissecting the contradictions that make up the lived experiences of women.