- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Brindle & Glass (March 12 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1927366119
- ISBN-13: 978-1927366110
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 1.3 x 17.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 259 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #498,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Rosina, the Midwife Paperback – Mar 12 2013
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Kluthe masterfully weaves together imagination, family legends, history and an account of a trip to Calabria to tell her compelling story, to link subtly here and there, then and now. —Caterina Edwards(2012-12-24)
’It may be possible to live more than one life at a time, or at least imagine another life so fully it feels real, feels lived—life synchrony.’ That’s what happens in this complex, deftly written family history. Jessica Kluthe brings into her world and into ours her great-great-grandmother, Rosina, the mother of five children and a midwife in Calabria. Kluthe creates this synchrony out of a photograph, bits of family stories, and the common, deeply rooted knowledge of love, birth and loss that resides in the female body. With poetic detail and imagery, she brings to the page the darkness of Mussolini’s Italy, the smells, sights and sounds of the streets, the kitchens and the birthing rooms. Kluthe responds to the ancient tug of the past and makes it come alive through the power of her imagination and her willingness to set it beside her own story set in contemporary Canada. It’s impossible to believe this is a first book. It’s too wise, too well constructed, too lyrical in its pain and beauty. —Lorna Crozier(2012-12-24)
Rosina, the Midwife makes the 49th Shelf's The Books We're Waiting For: Spring Preview 2013.(2013-03-06)
Kluthe constructs and simultaneously unpacks the life of Rosina in this evocative, layered memoir, structuring the narrative in a way that permits the reader to unpack along with her, to share the same curiosity and discoveries, to pin personal history and women’s history onto the map of world events and their own family tales. —Edmonton Journal(2013-04-24)
This isn’t just the story of one woman and her questions about her ancestor; in many ways, this is a universal story that will appeal to anyone who has done genealogy work or wondered about their ancestors and family history. —Daily Herald Tribune(2013-04-24)
In language that is spare and breathtakingly beautiful, Kluthe has written a book which carves new paths for literary nonfiction to follow. —Coastal Spectator(2013-04-24)
Tender yet thorough, as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. —St. Albert Gazette(2013-04-24)
The book explores the idea of the small town experience and the author sees parallels between that experience and the life her ancestors lived growing up in small villages—connections between people that happen over generations. —The Morinville News(2013-04-24)
Kluthe’s pursuit of answers, interwoven with her own life’s joys and sorrows, rounds out the emotional satisfaction quotient of the book, making Rosina a 'can’t put down' book for any season. —Vicki Ziegler, for 49th Shelf's summer recommendations(2013-07-13)
About the Author
Jessica Kluthe—recently named one of Edmonton's Top 40 Under 40—holds an MFA from the University of Victoria. Her stories have appeared in publications including The Malahat Review, Little Fiction, and Red Savina Review as well as two recent anthologies: Eat It: Food, Sex and Women's Writing and 40 Below: Edmonton's Winter Anthology. Rosina, the Midwife, which was on The Edmonton Journal's best sellers list for ten weeks, is her first book. "Traces," the first chapter of her book, was shortlisted for the Alberta Writers' Guild James H. Gray award. Jessica teaches full time for MacEwan University's Bachelor of Communication Studies program. Visit Jessica online at www.jessicakluthe.com or follow her on Twitter at @jessicakluthe.
Top customer reviews
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I didn’t know Rosina was a memoir until I was offered a copy by the staff at LitFest, a non-fiction festival. It reads very much like fiction. I kept forgetting, and thinking “I wonder why she chose this setting,” or, “I wonder what the purpose of this character is,” then realizing that the setting was really where it happened and the character was a real person. Those questions are still valid though. In non-fiction, the author still chooses what to describe in detail, and what to gloss over. She chooses who has a voice – in this case, herself, and her great great grandmother Rosina – and who stays in the background.
Kluthe chooses to give a voice to a woman who stayed behind when her family left for Canada, who lost her husband as a young woman with young children, and who brought innumerable other babies into the world. I love hearing another side of history like this (though I admit, I knew little about Italian immigration from traditional sources, either.)
There’s an air of mystery and secretiveness surrounding Rosina. Some of the relatives aren’t willing to speak. There were difficulties locating her grave. She always seems a few steps out of reach. The silence and shame surrounding Rosina are reflected in the author’s experience with an unplanned pregnancy.
The writing has been described as lyrical, but it’s also really understated and simple, which worked well. Kluthe does a great job tying together the different time periods and settings, and the straightforward memoir with the imagined day-to-day life of Rosina.
Kluthe eventually makes some important discoveries about Rosina, but I wondered how much resolution she felt. This is real life, so it’s not all tied up in a neat little package. I found myself kind of bereft at the end, wondering, now that she knows about her ancestors, her home, how does that play out in her life? Does it help her move on from her loss? Well, a cool thing about reading non-fiction is that Kluthe is a real person so there’s a chance we’ll find out.
Read my full review: [...]
I've added this book to my list of favorite reads, so I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for something really lovely and worthwhile to read.
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