- Oprah's Book Club Selection
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Oprah Book Club® Selection, October 1998: On a violent, stormy winter night, a home birth goes disastrously wrong. The phone lines are down, the roads slick with ice. The midwife, unable to get her patient to a hospital, works frantically to save both mother and child while her inexperienced assistant and the woman's terrified husband look on. The mother dies but the baby is saved thanks to an emergency C-section. And then the nightmare begins: the assistant suggests that maybe the woman wasn't really dead when the midwife operated:
Did she perform at least eight or nine cycles as my mother said, or four or five as Asa recalled? That is the sort of detail that was disputable. But at some point within minutes of what my mother believed had been a stroke, after my mother concluded the cardiopulmonary resuscitation had failed to generate a pulse or a breath, she screamed for Asa and Anne to find her the sharpest knife in the house.In Midwives, Chris Bohjalian chronicles the events leading up to the trial of Sibyl Danforth, a respected midwife in the small Vermont town of Reddington, on charges of manslaughter. It quickly becomes evident, however, that Sibyl is not the only one on trial--the prosecuting attorney and the state's medical community are all anxious to use this tragedy as ammunition against midwifery in general; this particular midwife, after all, an ex-hippie who still evokes the best of the flower-power generation, is something of an anachronism in 1981. Through it all, Sibyl, her husband, Rand, and their teenage daughter, Connie, attempt to keep their family intact, but the stress of the trial--and Sibyl's growing closeness to her lawyer--puts pressure on both marriage and family. Bohjalian takes readers through the intricacies of childbirth and the law, and by the end of Sibyl Danforth's trial, it's difficult to decide which was more harrowing--the tragic delivery or its legal aftermath.
Narrated by a now adult Connie, Midwives moves back and forth in time, fitting vital pieces of information about what happened that night like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into its complicated plot. As Connie looks back on her mother's trial, she is still trying to understand what happened--not on the night of the disaster--but in the months and years that followed. --Margaret Prior
In this new tale from the author of the acclaimed Water Witches (LJ 2/1/95), a New England midwife is accused of murder. Film rights were bought by Columbia-Tristar Pictures.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A very entertaining book, speaking of a series of difficult decisions to be taken in a split second and against a further series of negative circumstances surrounding the... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2007 by ELI (Italy)
What a great story. Told by the teenage daughter, this book has everything and keeps you interested until the end. Read morePublished on June 5 2007 by Louise Beauregard
Midwives is a gut-wrenching novel about Midwifery in rural New England. Midwife, Sibyl Danforth, through the eyes of her daughter. Read morePublished on June 23 2004 by Doug Welch
If there is any book that exemplifies self-doubt and innocence, it is Chris Bohjalian's Midwives. The story is told by a grown woman about the most important moment in her life... Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by "icerushz"
Chris Bohjalian did a great job with this book. The life of a midwife occupation and the risks they take everyday to make women feel comfortable in their homes was beautifully... Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Sarah Stevens
I really enjoyed reading this book. I was really impressed with the form of narration that this book was written in. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Jenny Comers
This was an entertaining book about Sybil Danforth, a midwife. There are tons of high and low points, and there never really is a dull moment. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Kevin Liu
froma guy point of view, i was truly engaged with this novel. From the begining with the word "Vulva" i was stuck ready. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Ronald Harvey
Chris Bohjalian's Midwives was a beautifully written narrative with the power to hold the reader's full attention from start to finish. Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by Patty