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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.

What listeners say about The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 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

62 people found this helpful

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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.

45 people found this helpful

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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.

19 people found this helpful

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My Sympathies to Meg Elison

I'm sorry that you loathe straight men so badly. Right out of the gate, the men have zero redeeming qualities. This feels like a feminist diatribe against men with the same exaggerated implausibility as a Handmaids Tale. Its a shame, because the woman are well written, the narration is well performed and the story progressed decently. But when you despise and villainize an entire gender and cast that role as your antagonist.. there is no progression to the story that seems remotely fulfilling. It just fizzles out and left me feeling absolutely bitter. I shant continue the series after this, nor any of Meg's other work.

4 people found this helpful

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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.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Trigger ⚠️

Chapter one: very descriptive rape scene. In addition, the woman reading this story is just not easy to listen to. This is one I won't be finishing.

3 people found this helpful

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O.k. but nothing to recommend.

There wasn.t much of a plot to the story. Almost seemed like daily readings from a diary. like, today we did this. The next day we did that. Uneventful.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

22 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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warning multiple rape scenes

should tell you in the description about the multiple rape and violence. hard to hear

32 people found this 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!!!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Miss Ereira
  • 06-19-19

Excellent Book

Hi really enjoyed this book very good storyline. Found it very compelling reading loved the main
Character.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy Smith
  • 08-16-18

love a good apocalypse

Great book well written with some interesting concepts. Can't wait to read the sequel now.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-18

Amazing!

Recommend this to all sci-if fans. Completely different perspective on apocalyptic genre. Performance is also brilliant.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Georgina
  • 09-20-20

Very good

As we are in our own pandemic, this book made me realise how lucky we are. The pore women I this book broke my heart. If your a fan of “The Handmaids Tale” this is a book for you too.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C.Simpson
  • 02-06-20

Impeccable reading, great story

I had heard nothing about this book and bought it on a whim. Best decision ever. I loved this book. The story line was great and I felt like it was a reality of how this kind of problem would play out. It felt quite close to home what with the new virus that’s out at the moment. The reader was perfect, I will look for more books read by them. So many different voices articulating the characters- it was a great performance. I want more!

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Isabelle
  • 12-17-20

Very intriguing!

I am a fan of dystopian fiction and this book was one of the better ones. Wasn't what I had expected but was pleasantly surprised!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-21

Captivating

I haven’t listened a book as quickly as I did this one. Truely, couldn’t stop. Amazing. Dark. Captivating.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 10-02-20

Phenomenal.

This is a verbal page turner with one of the best narration performances I have ever heard. I was so inside this story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MISS
  • 07-10-20

A great story

Great dystopian novel, wonderful characterisation. The story is written from the female perspective. The narration is very well done and adds to the story. A captivating story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janine Jaede
  • 07-07-20

Love a good dystopian story

I love a good dystopian story and this one didn't disappoint. Narrator was very good.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marigold
  • 08-02-19

The best audio book to date!

I loved this story but the audio was captivating. Angela did a stunning job. Put feeling where feeling was needed, pace and anxiety all in their rightful places = fun to listen to. Thanks Meg and Angela. Great team!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bluebeard
  • 07-31-18

This was so good

Couldn’t stop listening!!! Narrator was amazing and the story was fantastic. Just got into audiobooks and loved this.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nikita
  • 07-16-18

Enjoyable

I really enjoyed this book it kept me wanting to know more and the narration was fantastic!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bronwyn R
  • 07-17-18

Very different!

I originally downloaded this book, somehow assuming it was an historical tale.... not so! I was rapidly drawn into the unusual story line, and always keen to get back to it when time permitted. I found it thoroughly entertaining throughout, and the thought that this kind of event in the future is always possible, adds to the intrigue and fascination in how the author has created a future of massive uncertainty and peril at every turn as well as how she deals with every encounter and change in fortunes. I certainly highly recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-04-21

Loved it!

I loved how poetically this book was written and how well it was performed. Such a powerful story, I couldn't put it down.