Still Born

Guadalupe Nettel author Rosalind Harvey translator


Publisher:Fitzcarraldo Editions

Published:22nd Jun '22


Available for immediate dispatch.

Still Born cover

Still Born, Guadalupe Nettel’s fourth novel, explores one of life’s most consequential decisions – whether or not to have children – with her signature charm and intelligence. 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 complications arise in Alina’s pregnancy 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, Still Born explores maternal ambivalence with a surgeon’s touch, carefully dissecting the contradictions that make up the lived experiences of women.

Still Born is an astonishingly elegant, intelligent, affecting novel, which has stayed in my mind from the moment I began it to long after I finished. I felt a huge sense of relief that I had encountered a work of art about ambivalence in mothering, which encompassed a true, authentic range of emotions and curiosities – vanity, aggression, jealousy and selfishness – with sanguine acceptance, as well as the beautiful and difficult project of giving and sustaining love which marks all our lives, mothers or otherwise.’
— Megan Nolan, author of Acts of Desperation

‘In Still Born, Guadalupe Nettel renders with great veracity life as it is encountered in the everyday, taking us to the heart of the only things that really matter: life, death and our relationships with others. All of these are contained in the experience of motherhood, which this novel explores and deepens.’
— Annie Ernaux, author of The Years

‘Guadalupe Nettel reminds us that there is nothing stranger than our existence lived in containers of meat, blood and madness.’
— Mariana Enríquez, author of The Dangers of Smoking in Bed

Still Born is a rare thing: an unsentimental analysis of the ambivalences and moral complexity of motherhood. It is a book which demands to be discussed, at length, with friends, and I longed to do so.’
— Jessie Greengrass, author of The High House

‘I love the work of Guadalupe Nettel, one of Mexico’s greatest living writers. Her fiction is brilliant and original, always suffused with sensuality and strange science.’
— Paul Theroux, author of The Mosquito Coast

‘Nettel is one of the leading lights in contemporary Latin American literature.... I envy how naturally she makes use of language; her resistance to ornamentation and artifice; and the almost stoic fortitude with which she dispenses her profound and penetrating knowledge of human nature.’
— Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive

‘I read Still Born in less than a day. It is perfect: deeply feminist, wise, funny and alive. Nettel is generous to each of her characters, and in prose that is crisp and light. I love this book.’
— Yara Rodrigues Fowler, author of there are more things

‘An unflinching, compassionate meditation on mothers, daughters and sisters – both blood-related and chosen – Still Born stirred me and consoled me, renewing my faith in the power of women’s communities. Guadalupe Nettel has managed the impossible task of writing a work of both exacting honesty and immense tenderness, on one of the most delicate topics.’
— Livia Franchini, author of Shelf Life

‘Rosalind Harvey skilfully translate the original Spanish into precise and plain, but deeply moving, prose. Without resorting to sentimentality, the novel charts its characters’ halting efforts to understand and comfort one another. It is a piercing reflection on the ways acts of care bind people together.’

‘Nettel is free. She has succeeded in creating an audacious narrative style all her own, a singular and fearless way of being in the world. An essential voice of the new Latin American literature.’
— Enrique Vila-Matas, author of Mac’s Problem

Still Born is a startling novel about whatever it is that drives adults to take care of children, and all the many things that make that care painful and sometimes impossible. There is a quiet force to the poised and deliberate writing. The novel is a deep exploration of affection and vulnerability.’
— Caleb Klaces, author of Fatherhood

‘This highly original novel, in an excellent translation by Rosalind Harvey, pursues a range of ideas connected to children, who should have them and who should take care of them…There’s a dark undertow to Still Born that reminded me of Elena Ferrante’s novels.’ 
— Miranda France, TLS

‘Solitude, the vulnerabilities of the body, unearthing the beautiful in the strange, outsiders who are unwilling to conform – these are some of [Nettel’s] interests ... [and she] carries some of these concerns into Still Born.... The prose, which appears in an elegant translation by Rosalind Harvey, retains a matter-of-factness, and in some places a synoptic quality ... that is rarely freighted with sadness or despair.’ 
— Sarah Resnick, London Review of Books

‘Nettel, translated by Rosalind Harvey, devotes tight prose to the complicated structure of identity around being (or not being) a mother and explores the constant negotiating women must do in the process. It’s a subject that’s well-trodden, but it’s still consistently treated as a universal experience – Nettel approaches mothering with originality and oceans of empathy.’
— Anna Cafolla, The Face

‘The writing is subtle, sharp, and beautifully rendered thanks to Rosalind Harvey’s smooth translation.’
 Buzz Magazine

Still Born embraces both the joys of motherhood, and all the milked-up gunk, guilt-tripping and agonising. The decisions made are never straightforward. But this novel is vital in its emphasis on the right for people to make their own choices about their own bodies.’
— The Big Issue

‘Beautifully rendered in English by Rosalind Harvey, Still Born addresses the taboo of being ambivalent to motherhood with an admirable honesty… Still Born does the work of all impressive fiction; it creates conversation and generates ideas about the topics that are not as openly spoken about as they should be.’
—Hritik Verma, Hindustan Times

  • Short-listed for International Booker Prize 2023 (UK)

ISBN: 9781913097660

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

200 pages