The Art of Waiting is a hybrid memoir from Belle Boggs, author of the 2010 novel Mattaponi Queen. It tells the story of Boggs’s journey through infertility and IVF, but it also examines fertility, motherhood, and assisted reproduction, and how these fit into our society and culture. Drawing from medicine, theater, literature, personal experience, anecdotes, and biology, Boggs writes about motherhood in a smart, unsentimental, incisive way.
I knew from the moment I read about this book on a friend’s Facebook post that I had to read it. As a medical writer with a degree in maternal-child health and a background working in ob/gyn, and as a new mother who used assisted reproductive technology to conceive my son, I can tell you this: The Art of Waiting does not disappoint. Boggs’s prose is quiet but powerful, and she did her research in every way.
Jamie Rochelle Herndon: This is not merely a memoir; it feels to me like a cultural exploration/commentary/criticism, almost a sociological memoir, if that makes sense. What made you decide to write it like that, instead of a straight memoir? Continue reading
The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs is an inquiry into fertility and motherhood. After years of trying to conceive without success, Boggs makes the difficult and expensive decision to utilize ART—assisted reproductive technology. As she takes this drastic step toward biological motherhood, she explores every option and decision.
“The life an infertile person seeks comes to her not by accident and not by fate but by hard-fought choices.” What begins as a first-person narrative shifts into a wider sociological view as Boggs struggles to make sense of her situation. “Baby fever is painful and all encompassing,” she writes. Boggs draws parallels between her fertility experience and the outside world. Her research is evident in passages from academic studies and online chat sites. Gorilla and marmoset birthing habits give way to a cultural exploration of motherhood. Boggs’s straightforward language and empathetic style create a steady voice, and she is unafraid of posing difficult questions when she considers the multitude of situations women face: Continue reading
Eve Out of Her Ruins by Ananda Devi: “With brutal honesty and poetic urgency, Ananda Devi relates the tale of four young Mauritians trapped in their country’s endless cycle of fear and violence. Eve out of Her Ruins is a heartbreaking look at the dark corners of the island nation of Mauritius that tourists never see, and a poignant exploration of the construction of personhood at the margins of society.”
The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies: “Sly, funny, intelligent, and artfully structured, The Fortunes recasts American history through the lives of Chinese Americans and reimagines the multigenerational novel through the fractures of immigrant family experience.”
We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson: “When a nameless, struggling actor in 1970s New York gets the call that an enigmatic director wants him for an art film set in the Amazon, he doesn’t hesitate: he flies to South America, no questions asked. Inspired by a true story from the annals of 1970s Italian horror film, and told in dazzlingly precise prose,We Eat Our Own is a resounding literary debut, a thrilling journey behind the scenes of a shocking film and a thoughtful commentary on violence and its repercussions.”
Also this month: We’ll interview Virgie Tovar and talk about The Art of Waiting by Belle Boggs, Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein.
And we’ll announce the novel that Fiction Advocate will be releasing soon…