On Motherhood and Madness

Alice Kinsella author


Publisher:Pan Macmillan

Published:9th Mar '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

Milk cover

From a brilliant new talent, Milk is an astonishingly evocative, intimate and moving memoir charting one woman's first year of motherhood.

From a brilliant new talent, Milk is an astonishingly evocative, intimate and moving memoir charting one woman’s experience of pregnancy and motherhood in modern Ireland.

'Sublime' - Donal Ryan, author of Strange Flowers
'Here is a writer who matters' - The Irish Times
'A book about the raw, riotous, brutally beautiful act of being alive.' - Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of Thin Places
'Milk is a raw, unvarnished journey down the mothering rabbit hole' The Irish Independent

I have become the common myth. Mother. The sleepy hum of early memories. The smell of shampoo, of Olay, of lavender. The feeling of safety. The absence of fear.

When poet Alice Kinsella becomes a mother, she finds herself utterly lost. As she searches for answers to the question of her new identity, she considers the mothers and writers who came before her. In her inimitable poetic style, Kinsella takes pregnancy and the first nine months of motherhood and forms from them a broken prism through which to view both a woman’s place in the world, and her child’s in the future we’re creating.

‘A radiant, meditative, truly powerful and beautiful book’ Joseph O’Connor, author of Star of the Sea
‘Spellbinding’ Rick O’Shea

A radiant, meditative, truly powerful and beautiful book. -- Joseph O'Connor, author of Star of the Sea
'A compelling and moving account of [Kinsella's] initiation into, and life experiencing motherhood following the birth of her first child in her mid-20s . . . Sharp, brutal, unrelenting, vivid, capturing moments and emotions in the experience and psychology of motherhood, its demands, exhaustion, evocation of mortality, fears and sources of guilt as well as its joys . . . On the strength of this powerful, visceral, memorable, touching and, above all, beautifully rendered prose debut, there is little doubt Kinsella's compelling voice will be listened to: here is a writer who matters' -- Arnold Fanning * The Irish Times *
This is a book for the ages. It truly ismesmeric, stunningly beautiful, open and intense, revelatory and generous. I love the short bursts, and the sublime way that Alice ranges through life, mental health, art, society, and all the vast complexities, the dangers, the 'pull and sway' of motherhood. I knew what an incredible writer Alice was before I started but this surpasses my highest expectations. -- Donal Ryan, author of Strange Flowers
With its lyrical power, intimacy and political top-notes, Milk is already being compared to works by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Kerri ní Dochartaigh and Emilie Pine. * The Irish Independent *
Wielding a panoply of shattered literary forms, Alice Kinsella expertly depicts the gradual disintegration of a woman into the motherbaby dyad. MILK is an important addition to the growing canon of work about the physical, political, and philosophical destabilization of motherhood. -- Sarah Manguso, author of Very Cold People
Presented in sharp fragments, this deft meditation pierces straight to the core of motherhood, in all its tenderness and strife. -- Aimée Walsh * RTÉ *
I don’t think I’ve ever been more consumed by a book before. I devoured it. It took hold of me, curled right up in beside my bones. A book of women and water , babies and art - the herstory of Ireland - but mostly this is a book about the raw, riotous, brutally beautiful act of being alive. Kinsella manages something rare here; weaving her own story so exquisitely with that of both the human and non human world she is part of. Reading her words on mothering and creating - on care and hope- was an incredibly healing thing indeed. -- Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of Thin Places
Spellbinding -- Rick O'Shea
Milk is mesmerizing, comforting, angering, delicate, tough, perceptive, funny and clever. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Every page. Every word. Every moment. Every mother, every son, every father, every daughter, every Irish person, every human needs to read this glorious book. -- Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, author of All The Money in The World
Milk is beautifully written - by a poet, clearly, but with no indulgence or digression into ornament, only strangeness and a kind of stylistic purity, like a chime. -- Niamh Campbell, author of This Happy
Alice Kinsella traverses the terrors of the mind, the responsibilities of love, and the dark concealments of history with a powerful skill. On motherhood, the body and social taboo, Milk is a bright, captivating reckoning. -- Seán Hewitt, author of All Down Darkness Wide
Milk is a lyrical meditation on the impossible beauty and impossible strangeness of motherhood. With immersive and exquisite prose, Kinsella leads us through the Mother World and, while her words often evoke the sublime, Kinsella does not recoil from examining its underbelly of misogyny – still present in spite of supposed progress. Riveting and vital. -- Sophie White
More than motherhood, Kinsella's memoir is about the struggle to feel what she calls 'real' in the age of social media. Her journey is an important and absorbing one that speaks to us all, female or not. * TLS *
Milk is a brilliantly original examination of motherhood, a book like no other on the subject. With a poet's eye and in gorgeous prose it brings us close up to the anxieties, frustrations, joys and world-expanding drama of bringing new life into an uncertain world. -- Mike McCormack, author of Solar Bones
. . . time and structure are let loose in a genre defying book destined to become a cult classic. * Books Ireland *
Her analogy of both the body and the planet as homes in crisis stings with accuracy. As an intimate, shocking, and cathartic picture of existence in the frame of motherhood, Milk is simply stunning. * NB magazine *
Part epic prose poem, part fully referenced essay, Milk is ‘series of small epiphanies’ told in tight fragments that reflect the confinement of the mother-poet. * Mslexia *
Powerful yet delicate * Limerick Leader *
Almost lyrical at times, [Kinsella's] prose flits through a series of vignettes, offering glimpses into her physical health, state of mind and worries. * Financial Times *
Deeply personal but with a universal resonance as a study of motherhood in a supposedly modernised Ireland. * Mayo Advertiser *
Lyrical, thought-provoking, important addition to the genre. * Irish Examiner *

ISBN: 9781529097948

Dimensions: 224mm x 146mm x 37mm

Weight: 474g

368 pages