A novel about the early postpartum days of motherhood: a visceral and revelatory portrait of a woman struggling with maternal fear and its looming madness, showing how difficult and fragile those days can be, and how vital love is to pull anyone out from the dark.
Brilliant ... So relentlessly quotable ... As happens with stunning regularity in this book, Molnar’s sentence gives up riches and terrors. She is describing a transformation that is total, painful and deeply baffling ... Molnar pushes this transformation into the stuff of quiet horror. In doing so, she’s written an essential and surprisingly thrilling book about motherhood ... A sense of looming violence stains the entire book ... An honest rendering.
Bring[s] us down from the clouds into the muck and mire of postpartum reality ... The shifts in the narrator’s state of mind are adroitly handled, suggesting the fluid tangle of the real and the imaginary that she is experiencing. Many of her thoughts are deeply disturbing, leaving the reader unclear as to how seriously we are to take them—or, alternately, how seriously the narrator herself takes them ... The Nursery is a powerful brew of a novel, emitting unpleasant sights, smells, and emotions that are rarely captured in print; it is frequently disquieting in its brutal, insistent candor ... Although it cuts back and forth, sometimes a bit confusingly, between the narrator’s life pre-pregnancy, the days she spends in the hospital after delivering the baby, and the harrowing aftermath, the cumulative effect gives the novel a largeness of scope that it otherwise might not have had and saves it from potential claustrophobia. The prose occasionally falters, and a phrase will sound as if it were a mistranslation (the writer was born in Budapest and raised in Sweden, though she is writing here in English), but it is in the main charged with an immediacy and directness that pull the reader in.
Less about motherhood than it is about the loneliness motherhood induces ... Like Miffo’s anguish, the shape of the novel itself is a spiral, a continuous inner monologue of a perpetual today ... The Nursery dares to question the inviolable dictates of a mother’s love when a human is reduced to her suffering—perhaps no love is unconditional after all.