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Publisher's Summary

Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth's population - killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant - the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power - and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men's clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she'll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

©2016 Meg Elison. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

"Equals" = "Annoying"

In spite of my headline, I really enjoyed this book. If not for the writer's tic of overusing "something = something", I would have given it a perfect 5 stars. The story was fascinating, and as another reviewer stated, one of the best things about the story is the author tells you how the characters the protagonist meets along the way, actually end up. Unfortunately most of them don't end up well. The other characteristic that really stood out was that the plot didn't depend on putting the main character in imminent danger over and over again, as a way to move the plot. So many books depend on continual pending disaster.

This is a post infectious disease world, where very few men and even fewer women and children survive. And the women that do survive the disease, don't seem to survive childbirth. The protagonist, a former OB/GYN nurse in a hospital encounters a wide variety of survivors and keeps a detailed diary of her life in the post-disease world.

Angela Dawe can be one of my favorite narrators. But her unique voice has to "fit" the book. She fits this book perfectly.

I

34 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I liked it, I actually liked it.

I usually do not prefer the apocalyptic genre of book, and really, I took three risks, I didnt read any reviews, and bought the book before it was released, which is also something I do not do often. When I do it usually means I am desperate for a good book. I was not dissapinted. The author of this book pulls it off magnificently. All I can say is her characters were real to life, the situations where relatable, and what I would see as realistic under the cercumstances. There were multiple changes in views, which is a difficult art to learn, but this author mastered it, and the way she used them was refreshing. I have a select few books that I add to my paper collection. This will probably be one of them. I cannot say much more without ruining the book, but I encourage you to read it. Wonderful job, could not put the book down, and silently mourned it's finish.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Great Dystopian Future Book, Well Narrated!

I only bother to write reviews (beyond just stars) for books I find exceptionally good or bad. I only bought this because it was on super-sale, so didn't have many expectations. I've never read anything by the author previously. Dystopian futures, though, are one of my favorite genres, and I've read a few that pre-supposed that one gender or the other was nearly wiped out, giving me something to compare it to.

I gave this 5 stars, as I listened & read it in one sitting. It's a rare book that I can not put down, and even rarer that I read the Kindle (or paperback, etc.) while listening to it. That's my favorite way of really getting into something, especially if it's a bit otherworldly, like sci-fi or dystopian futures. It makes suspending my disbelief easier and shutting my real world out simpler. Although I've read much with the same or similar topics, I did like the way this was put together. Most futuristic books begin with a world already dead or fundamentally changed, so I appreciated reading/hearing how it happened. That's rare.

I'm currently bound for the Amazon Kindle store to buy the sequel. Note to Kindle/Audible fans: Often you can get the best buy, if you know you're going to buy both, by going to the Kindle store first and checking 'Add Audible narration.' Often the narration is cheaper than what a credit is worth, so I generally save my credits. I have Kindle Unlimited as well, which is well worth the cost, IMO. Since I'm disabled and retired, I do have much more time to read than the average person.

By the way, I almost forgot to mention that the narration was great as well. It was mostly just one voice, but when other voices were required, they were good too. For me, a good narrator is one that I don't hear too much; that the voice fades away as I get immersed in the story.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Go read Earth Abides

Do i like it?
Yep. And not...
A lot of bad language for nothing.
A lot of violence and sex.
Yet, the story is good.

If your time is spare and you want one book on the restart of humanity because a plague, go and read or listen to Earth​ Abides - 2 leagues higher.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • Gatesville, TX United States
  • 09-26-17

Couldn’t do it

This book is just plain annoying. I normally like dystopian novels but Not this one. I literally couldn’t stand the main character who was extremely critical of everyone and everything but failed to identify her own major character flaws. The “this equals that” and her constant foul language was so annoying that I had to shut it off. I will return this one and never select anything else from this author again.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good apocalypse book

There were a few spots where the book made you think, but this isn't a deep contemplation story. It is a good, easy listen.
My favorite thing about this book is there are no loose ends. When the main character runs into a new person, you will eventually be told what happened in a condensed 3 sentence explanation. How rare is that? That isn't something I would want in most books, but I really enjoyed hearing the stories of everyone to the end of their lives.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too much for me

The only reason I'm giving this book 3 stars is because I liked the narrator. The plot had really good promise, but it fell flat bc the main character was so unlikable. I didn't mind the profanity once I got used to it, but the main character's only redeeming quality was that she was a midwife. I'm slightly offended that I was lead to believe that only the bad attitude, multi-sexual women survive the end of the world. it would have been more believable if she had hardened through the course of the book.

I also felt like I was reading (or rather listening to) a variety of porn. It was a bit too erotic for my taste.

And if none of this bothered me, I still would have been upset with the lack of events that failed to transpire after several chapters.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

writing=style=really?=tedious

I know that title doesn't make much sense if you haven't read or heard this book but... suffice it to say, those that have understand. They may not agree but they understand. The story line was interesting for me but the authors writing style really wore on me and if I NEVER read/hear another book like this one I'll be very glad. I BARELY made it through this book. Luckily she stopped her this=that kitchy style about 1/3-1/2 of the way through the book.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Joy
  • Annapolis MD United States
  • 10-13-16

Lets hope our world never goes there

No one seemed to know why it happened - it just did and the earth's population went into chaos when an epidemic broke out killing most of the women and children. Men roamed in packs and preyed on whatever women there was left.
This story was well written and well narrated and worth the credit.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A.
  • 08-21-17

Misandristic excess spoils a good apocalyptic idea

What would have made The Book of the Unnamed Midwife better?

If the occasional remaining male human being had retained some individual moral compass and decency toward women.

Would you ever listen to anything by Meg Elison again?

Warily

Have you listened to any of Angela Dawe’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The reader was excellent and had the unusual ability to extend her voice into a nearly believable male range.

What character would you cut from The Book of the Unnamed Midwife?

Every rapacious, misogynistic, predatory male character.

Any additional comments?

I hope I've made my point.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • vicki
  • 11-13-16

Yessss

Absolutely loved loved loved this listen. This was the best of its kind in such a long time. Wish I was just starting the story I stead of finished!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • hiude
  • 01-07-18

A good read or listen.

Not a gripping read or a thrilling one at that. no zombies, just reality as it may be...
It reads true to how I think things may roll, if this happened in real life. Hence it Kept me hooked for 2 days worth of listening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • April
  • 01-06-18

chilling but brilliant

chilling but brilliant listened to it in less than 24 hours. brilliant book haven't been this engaged in a long time

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-17

Loved it.

Listened to audio reading in a single day. Beautifully read and performed. A great thought provoking story.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Suswati
  • 10-24-17

A dark dystopian tale about prejudice

This is a pretty excellent dystopian novel, almost like an amalgamation of The Road and The Handmaid's Tale, exploring women's role in an apocalyptic setting.

After a fever kills most of the Earth's population, specifically women and children, making childbirth deadly, a midwife attempts to survive an extremely precarious situation for her gender. In the new world, women are routinely raped and sold, used as baby making machines and commodified as a bartering tool.

Her only option is to disguise herself as a man and attempt to make her way across the country in search for a beacon of hope. She faces age-old prejudices, such as religion and patriarchy, while trying to be a guide to humanity.

No doubt, it is extremely dark, and some of it is very disturbing, so brace yourself for feeling a little queasy.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah Pearce
  • 08-19-17

Ok,

Not what I expected REALLY, bit disappointed. Narration was fine. struggled to engage with characters and storyline.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin
  • 01-30-17

Post-apocalyptic universe is terrifying

I found this story to be unrelentingly depressing. It tells of a world where a plague has wiped out most of the human race with only a few survivors, most of them men. The women have become property, hunted, kept and raped at will. The protagonist, the unnamed midwife, makes her way across the landscape surviving by pretending to be a man, helping others as much as she can. While it is quite well written, it's a bleak environment and not enjoyable. If you're a fan of this type of story, you might 'enjoy' it. Not mine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-03-18

Unique perspective on the end of the world

I love reading dystopian fiction / zombie books but I am constantly disappointed that none of the male authors have considered what a female would need to do to protect herself.

The unnamed midwife has this covered in very clever ways. She is not a victim but a saviour. She is who I would want to be at the end of the world.

The story is interesting with situations outside of the ubiquitous end of the world situations (form a community, get raided, move on, repeat.

The performance of the reading was excellent

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-25-18

An Unusual Story

Very Different. Heavy, explicit and at times frightening. But I liked it. It’s something I am not used to. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out and getting this book. But if you after a total change from the norm then give it a go.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marika
  • 02-06-18

absolutely riveting and entirely satisfy story.

loved the strength and determination of the Unnamed Midwife. also how Elison gives the reader a glimpse of what happens to the secondary characters after they've parted ways from the heroine, so satisfying! highly recommended!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elise A Hinkley
  • 12-08-16

Bleak but very well told

This was not like other books I've read but was a very interesting read. A different 'doomsday' perspective!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Not Half
  • 11-04-16

On the whole a gripping read

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd recommend this book as a great read which captures the imagination from beginning to end. It's very well paced, and the premise, although not original, makes for a good set up.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed this as a great example of dystopian fiction.I also enjoyed the female narrator and her being a very non-stereotypical character.

What does Angela Dawe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Angela Dawe is a fantastic voice artist and great at performing different accents, age groups and genders.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I couldn't wait to get into bed each night to find out what happens next.

Any additional comments?

The only thing that was a little grating, as another reviewer notes, was the 'this equals that' motif, repeated with a frequency that I felt unnecessary. There are many other ways to express 'if this then that' that the author could have used.