A Guide to Being Born

A Guide to Being Born


Book - 2013
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A riveting collection from a major new literary talent that combines the fantastical ambition of her debut novel No One Is Here Except All of Us with the clear precision of the short story form. Divided into three sections, A Guide to Being Born charts the cycle of transformation from love to conception to gestation to birth. In each of her eleven stories, Ausubel uses her inimitable style and her gift for the imaginative to expose the fundamentals of the human condition.

In ' Atria ,' a teenage girl gets pregnant and believes she will give birth to any number of strange animals rather than a human baby; in ' Safe Passage ,' an old woman finds herself on a freighter full of grandmothers, far from shore on an unknown sea; and in ' Chest of Drawers ,' the husband of a pregnant wife wakes to discover that small drawers have appeared in the center of his chest. ' Tributaries ' is set in a world where people sprout a new arm when they fall in love; ' Catch and Release ' introduces a girl to the ghost of a Civil War hero living in the woods behind her house, and ' Snow Remote ' is about two siblings who take their places in a family story that is mostly ficitonal.

As we read A Guide to Being Born , we travel through the stages of life and all the transformations that occur- we become parents, we lose our own parents and become orphans, we fall in love and are transformed. These stories are about the moments when we pass from one part of life into an other, about the love that finds us in the dark and pulls us, finally through.

Praise for A Guide to Being Born

'These stories reminded me of branches full of cherry blossoms- fresh, delicate, beautiful, expressive, otherworldly. I eagerly read from one story to the next.' Aimee Bender

Praise for No One Is Here Except All of Us

'Fantastical and ambitious . . . Infused with faith in the power of storytelling.' The New York Times Book Review

'An absorbing and unpredictable novel . . . Ausubel's original voice combines fresh, clear observation and Old Testament grandeur.' The New Yorker

' No One Is Here Except All of Us contains so many achingly beautiful passages, it's as if language itself is continually striving to be a refuge . . . If a book can be said to have a consciousness, the consciousness here is infinitely tender and soulful, magical and true.' San Francisco Chronicle

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2013.
ISBN: 9781594487958
Branch Call Number: AUS
Characteristics: 198 p.


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Nov 30, 2016

I found the first story in the book rather touching, even if filled with stereotypes of old women (They all seem to be white, and widows or are still married with grown children and wear dresses with stocking and slips. Most of the old women I know [in their 70's and 80's] wear jeans and sweatshirts most of the time. Even my mother's generation [1907 - 1999] wore pants more often than not.).
But I couldn't get into any of the stories that followed. None. I don't get what all the hoopla is about.

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