The Argonauts is about small, miraculous domestic dramas, and the ardent acts of readjustment and care that they require, but it is also a reconsideration of what the institutions established around sexuality and reproduction mean if you come at them at a slant, if you disrupt them by the very fact of your being ... In the final pages, Nelson tells the story of Iggy’s birth, mixing it with Dodge’s own account of his mother’s death. Birth is well-travelled ground in literature these days, but I have never read anything as luminous and exacting as these wrung accounts of the passage in and out of life.
At 143 pages, The Argonauts contains much more than its unassuming size would suggest, a discrepancy befitting an exploration of what may and may not be contained by our physical selves ... So much writing about motherhood makes the world seem smaller after the child arrives, more circumscribed, as if in tacit fealty to the larger cultural assumptions about moms and domesticity; Nelson’s book does the opposite. Like the Argo, her ship’s been renewed, and her voyage continues.