Winner of the 2016 Paterson Fiction Prize
One of NPR's "Best Books of 2015"
One of Bustle's "2015’s 25 Best Books, Fiction Edition"
An Electric Literature "Best Novel of 2015"
One of HelloGiggles's "23 Books from 2015 You Absolutely Must Read"
One of Brooklyn Magazine's "12 Best Books of 2015 that Didn’t Get Enough Attention"
A People Pick March 2015
One of O, The Oprah Magazine's "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"
One of Publishers Lunch's "Favorite Books of 2015, From the News Editor"
“Elisa Albert’s brilliant new novel…It’s obscene, reckless, vicious, hilarious and above all real…it ought to be as essential as ‘The Red Badge of Courage.’…Albert has inherited the house Grace Paley built, with its narrow doorways just wide enough for wit and tragedy and blistering, exasperated love…”
—Merritt Tierce, the New York Times Book Review
"Albert's scathing send-up of modern motherhood boils with dark humor and brutal honesty."
"A smartly acerbic exploration of motherhood."
—O, The Oprah Magazine
"Elisa Albert's take on birth, motherhood and female relationships is the antithesis of the treacly cliches that so often surround these well-trod subjects. Her story is messy, devastating and raw — deeply felt and deftly told. Through the experience of Ari, a hard-core feminist party girl/academic, Albert explores the most difficult part of becoming a mother: the eclipsing of your identity and relationships, and the struggle to find your footing in a completely new world. It will leave you marveling at the power women have to survive, to break each other's hearts and, when we're lucky, to rescue one another."
—NPR, "Our Guide To 2015’s Great Reads"
"[A] wonderful primal howl of a novel."
—Sam Sacks, the Wall Street Journal
"An entertaining take on the vicissitudes of female friendship"
—The New York Times
“In its unremitting coarseness and ferocity, her language takes the sentimental platitudes that all mothers are fed (lies!) and spits them back with purifying fury.”
—The Washington Post
"Albert has given us a portrait of modern motherhood that will provide insight for some and provoke others. For others still, in its quieter moments, as it reaches for an honest way to talk about birth, it will be like that big old bell ringing in them, a reading process of recognition and reunion."
"After Birth roars with the anger of betrayal. Albert is abrasive and sharp, intelligent and painfully real. There is no room for gentleness in her novel, no time to waste looking for a kinder way of speaking. [It's] looking for a fight, it’s unladylike, it’s pissed off, and it’s going to tear everything you thought about birth and motherhood to shreds."
—Jeva Lange, Electric Literature
"Albert [has a] light touch, comic timing, and [an] ability to move effortlessly between registers...After Birth is a political novel, and a feminist novel. It’s full of anger and frustration and heartache. It is also hilarious and entertaining...fresh and daring."
—Alexis Nelson, The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Albert’s novel is an unflinching look at the trials and tribulations of new motherhood, yes, but also the realities of being a woman and the attendant never-ending quest to find a place in a society that doesn’t want to make room for us on our own terms and it is as much a story of heroism and personal maturation as is Crane’s classic. It is easily one of the best books of this year, and, really, any other."
—Kristin Iversen, Brooklyn Magazine, "The 12 Best Books of 2015 that Didn’t Get Enough Attention"
"Anyone who's just had a baby absolutely needs to read this."
—Emily Gould, Paper Magazine
"A tour through the often overlooked realities of motherhood, friendship, and the days of riot grrrl, Elisa Albert's novel is the antidote to the crippling expectations of society on women."
—Sarah Galo, Bustle, "2015’s 25 Best Books, Fiction Edition"
"I am helpless with love for Elisa Albert’s work. Something about her voice and her style, not to mention her subject matter, just does it for me in a way no one else’s books do, and I’ve been salivating for years for her to come out with another one...Albert is great on the darkness at the heart of all kinds of hallowed intimacies, and even when you’re gasping, appalled by the narrator’s pinched, cruel worldview, you’ll never stop reading."
—Emily Gould, The Millions
"As sharp as a fresh-cut diamond...Bright, angry, very funny, diving into uncomfortable truths about the female body and female behavior, this novel has it all."
—Flavorwire, "10 Must Read Books for February"
"Elisa Albert’s book, After Birth, is very easy to fall in love with. Because it’s not just about motherhood, and birth, and family. It’s also about friendship and jealousy and feeling like you’re not sure whether you belong somewhere. A feeling almost all of us have felt at some point or another."
—HelloGiggles, "23 Books from 2015 You Absolutely Must Read"
"Albert turns her now-trademark dark humor and merciless lens on the first chapters of life from the perspective of a new mother, and the result is a perfect balance of light and dark...[Her] writing excels."
"In lesser hands, Ari might be unlikable, but Albert imbues her with searing honesty and dark humor, and the result is a fascinating protagonist for this rich novel."
"After Birth is a voluptuous, hilarious, scaldingly and exhilaratingly honest account of new motherhood, emotional exile, and the complex romance of female friendship. I'm a huge Elisa Albert fan, and in her latest she has perfected a tonal pivot that whips the reader from laughter to revelation in a sentence."
—Karen Russell, author of Sleep Donation and Swamplandia!
"A deep, funny novel about the terrors and exhilarations of love in all its forms. Elisa Albert writes with startling clarity and furious wit about marriage, motherhood and friendship, illuminating these familiar landscapes with lightning flashes of revelation."
—Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation
"After Birth is a fast-talking, opinionated, moody, funny, and slightly desperate account of the attempt to recover from having a baby. It is a romp through dangerous waters, in which passages of hilarity are shadowed by the dark nights of earliest motherhood, those months so tremulous...