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Journal of No. 118


August 18th, 2017

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, by Meg Ellison @ 03:46 pm


A post-apocalyptic story where the apocalypse is a plague that takes out most of humanity, and is more fatal among women than men, making women even rarer in the post-world. This sets up a brutal scenario with supply and demand turning women into commodities. Our unnamed medical professional manages to stay safe(r) by cross-dressing, but every interaction with others is fraught with danger. I enjoy a good 'men are pigs' story, but this one may tread a bit over the line into unintentional parody from time to time.
It also bears interesting comparisons to Earth Abides, especially with the beginning of this book set in the Bay Area. But our heroine makes her way into the Rockies, gaining and losing companions from time to time. Some of the best writing and interaction is when she lives on the outskirts of a Mormon settlement that survived slightly better than most of the world due to remoteness and isolation.
Ostensibly a journal, the book occasionally interpolates other stories that the midwife copies into it, but the work as a whole doesn't stick to this formula, to its detriment I think. Certain passages break the illusion, providing information on what's going on in other parts of the world, or giving us the unhappy story of what happens to two former companions after they part ways with the unnamed midwife.
A good read, despite my quibbles. 
 
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Journal of No. 118