Midwives Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
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.
Top Customer Reviews
In 'Midwives', the layers were lined up with all the 'holes' in a row and Sybil Danforth, a lay midwife in rural Vermont in the early '80's finds herself on trial for manslaughter.
This book refers to Sybil's personal diaries at the beginning of each chapter, but the story is told by her 14 year old daughter, Connie who provides her perspective on the trial, her mother's midwifery practice and the complex family relationships that are tested during a time of high stress. I first read this book almost twenty years ago and I remembering liking it. When I came across it again recently, I decided to give it another read and had forgotten how much I had liked it. This one will stay on my bookshelf.
This story as stated earlier is from the POV of Connie. Connie is an adult that looks back on a situation that effected who she was and would become not only as a woman but as a professional. Connie's mom is arrested and tried after a home-birth that ends in the death of the laboring mother. What follows is a little look at one side of this tragic event that was not only thought provoking but moving.
I found myself pulled in from the very beginning and as a result I read this book in one day. This book doesn't beat up on Midwives or the choice of home-birthing. Nor is this book scary or overly graphic in nature. Mr. Bohjalian is a very talented author and I feel that he has done justice to this topic. The characters that make up this story are just as important as the storyline itself.
I must admit that I'm not much of a book club reader instead I read books that interst me so I have not jumped on the "bookclub bandwagon" but I found this book to really be the exception.
I’m surprised how much I actually enjoyed this book, because like I said it’s not really my type of book. At the same time, I’m disappointed I didn’t like it as much as my sister did. A bit of mixed feelings for me on this book.
The writing was very good. It’s clear Bohjalian is a great writer. And the story was good and interesting. I definitely wanted to keep reading to discover the outcome. However, I wasn’t able to become completely captivated when reading. While I enjoyed the story and wanted to see what happened, I had no problem setting it down to do something else. It actually took me a surprisingly long time to finish this book.
People who are into this type of story will devour this book and love every minute of it. So, if the synopsis sounds like it’s a story right up your alley, definitely pick up this book!
Most recent customer reviews
Wonderful story. As a nurse and mother I was fascinated by this story. Definitely a great read!Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth Grandbois
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
Chris Bohjalian did an Excellent job writting Midwives. I was enormously shocked to find out that the person writting this book was a man!! Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by Juana
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
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
Birth and Death
Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian, shakes all preconceptions one might have about the practice of midwifery. Read more