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About The Book

‘Compelling, elegant and bitingly smart.’ Nell Stevens, author of Briefly, A Delicious Life

A Frankenstein for the twenty-first century by the Dylan Thomas Prize-shortlisted author of Trinity and Speak

A woman begins work on a novel about Mary Shelley while pregnant for the first time. Recently married, she has just moved from New York to Montana.

As the woman writes, fragments of Shelley’s story begin to detach themselves from the page. Moving through her reproductive years, Shelley endured a catalogue of losses painful beyond comprehension. Still, she wrote, conceiving Frankenstein in 1816.

The woman’s experiences of pregnancy, miscarriage and labour are traumatic and disorienting, especially in the context of political upheaval, climate crisis, and an ongoing pandemic. Finally, she gives birth to a daughter and together they emerge into another world.

Then a friend from the past reappears. Anna is a biochemist who has been struggling to become a parent, a scientist who sees everything as an experiment. How far will she go in her desire to bring a baby into being?

Devastating and joyful, elegant and exacting, Reproduction is a powerful reminder of the hazards and the rewards involved in creating new life.

About The Author

Photograph by Ben Steinbauer

Louisa Hall is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Iowa and the author of the critically acclaimed novels Reproduction, Trinity, SpeakHer poems have been published in The New RepublicSouthwest Review, and other journals, and she is the recipient of grants from Yaddo, Macdowell, and The T.S. Eliot Foundation. She lives in Iowa City with her family.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner UK (June 6, 2024)
  • Length: 224 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398522466

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Raves and Reviews

‘Compelling, elegant and bitingly smart, Reproduction left me reeling. It is playful and serious, witty and searing, inventive and heart-rending. I utterly loved it.'

– Nell Stevens, author of Briefly, A Delicious Life

‘I read this novel in a single rapturous sitting, torn between the desire to hurtle through its hypnotic prose and the desire to reread every perfect sentence. Repro­duction exquisitely captures the lunacy of inhabiting an animal body with a human mind, and somehow manages also to be gross, funny, heartrending, and formally acrobatic. Louisa Hall is a singular talent and I am a devotee.’

– Melissa Febos, author of Body Work and Girlhood

‘A brave and dynamic novel about the creation of life and art – narratively free, compul­sively readable and true to life.’

– Tao Lin, author of Leave Society and Taipei

‘What a brilliant novel! I was moved, troubled, enchanted; hardly able to breathe as I read. Hall’s dazzling and original tale has the force of myth, embodying the monstrous challenges of reproducing in our strange new world.’

– Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Natural History

‘It’s taken me seven years of reading, and about a thousand more books, to be able to say once again: “This is the best book I’ve ever read.” For one thing, Louisa Hall... has perfectly captured the hollow void of grief after the miscarriage of a wanted child...a deeply feeling, deeply observant narrator...When I read this book again in ten years I’ll surely be saying to myself: ‘Yes, that is exactly how it was.’ It’s a marvellous gift of a book.’

– Claire Oshetsky, author of Chouette

'What a gift this book is to anyone on the journey to motherhood. So much pain and heartache can surface with this choice, and I'm thankful to Louisa Hall for not shying away from that.’

– Szilvia Monar, author of The Nursery

'At the heart of Louisa Hall’s brainily visceral new novel is a reading of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a book whose uncanny energy is forged in the crucible of reproduction... she writes the body with poetic clarity and beauty.'

– Lara Feigel, Guardian

'One of the remarkable qualities of Reproduction is its way of showing the strangeness of medical procedures as they actually happen.'

– New York Review of Books

'Devastating and sharp... uses Frankenstein as its foundation to conclude with a science fiction story of its own, but what is more powerful is how it captures the life-changing experience of pregnancy and birth.'

– LA Times

‘Graceful, precise, and perceptive, this is a memorable take on the danger and strangeness of pregnancy.’

– Publisher's Weekly

‘This book would be valuable if only for Hall’s phantasmagorical depiction of childbirth and her honesty about how lonely mothering can be. But Hall also situates her story in a world in which gene-editing technology and climate change and global pandemics are real. Like Shelley herself, Hall provides readers a text composed of diverse parts, a text that readers can endlessly take apart and stitch back together to create new ideas. Body horror and philosophy commingle in this strange, enthralling novel.’

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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