Hannah, Delivered by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew, Köehler Books, 316 pages
Hannah, Delivered is an imperfect book with loads of potential, if only an editor had coaxed it into the wonderful novel it could have been. As is, it’s a novel that reads too much like a memoir — the kind that struggles with pacing, with erratic decisions about when to show the action and when to summarize what happened. The conceit set out in the first chapter — of an experienced midwife telling a young midwife about her early days in the profession — doesn’t ultimately serve any purpose, since neither the teller nor the phantom listener has anything at stake in the conversation. The prose quality is uneven, and there is an edge of didacticism that subverts the book’s more literary charms.
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