Elisa Albert On Birth, Friendships, and the Job That Unexpectedly Changed Her Life


Elisa Albert’s After Birth, her third book, has been a breakthrough for the young novelist, reviewed glowingly all over the damn place. In the New York Times, Merritt Tierce memorably described the book as  “wet, red, slimy, alive: a truth baby.”  It’s the story of a woman named Ari whose postpartum depression begins to lift when she forms an intense bond with a charismatic fellow new mother in her small upstate New York town (hijinks ensue). We got to talk with Elisa a few weeks back about the challenges of  speaking and writing about women’s physical and emotional experiences without essentializing or making anyone feel excluded. We also found out about how, when she was in her early 20s, she had a job writing onscreen captions for the Canadian documentary show Birth Stories, which ended up sparking her interest in the politics of birth. She’s even become a certified doula — a non-medical person who attends births and provides physical and emotional support to the laboring woman and her family. Books we namedrop in this episode include: A Life’s Work by Rachel Cusk, Home/Birth: A Poemic by Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker, and An Exact Replica of A Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken.

You can (and should) buy After Birth at your local independent bookstore, at Amazon, or at Barnes and Noble.