A gorgeous gut-punch of a novel following an unnamed narrator’s stubborn attempt to keep her small brood of four chickens alive and safe over the course of one savage winter in Minnesota.
by Jackie Polzin
Doubleday, publication date TBD
A woman struggles to keep four chickens alive over the course of a brutal Minnesota winter. Woefully unprepared for the task, she battles the relentless predators, severe weather and unforeseen bad luck—all the while grieving a recent miscarriage, and coming to terms with her infertility and the accompanying uncertainty that her future holds. There is a brutal beauty to this novel, brought into crisp focus by Polzin’s dazzling prose. While we’ve never read anything quite like BROOD, there are certainly shades here of H Is for Hawk (in the intersection of birds and grief), of Chemistry by Weike Wang (in the extended metaphor used as a shield for what can’t be faced directly), and of Miranda July’s work in its sharp edges and shattering observations. Like Lucia Berlin, Polzin also possesses an appraising eye and ability to disarm their reader with unexpected humor. For readers of Jenny Offill and Rachel Cusk.
Jackie Polzin is a recent graduate of the Boise State MFA program. She currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and children. BROOD is her first novel.