Little Labors (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This is a book that can be read in one sitting, slowly devoured over multiple sessions, or opened periodically at a random essay to find some bizarre, whimsical, yet realistic and refreshing gem. Somehow this book manages to feel both sacred and sacrilegious, making for a beautiful marriage of the two. Perfect for mothers, the mother-adjacent, or anyone fascinated by the strange world of children. 

— From Ashley


In paperback at last: Rivka Galchen’s beloved baby bible—slyly hilarious, surprising, and absolutely essential reading for anyone who has ever had, held, or been a baby

In this enchanting miscellany, Galchen notes that literature has more dogs than babies (and also more abortions), that the tally of children for many great women writers—Jane Bowles, Elizabeth Bishop, Virginia Woolf, Janet Frame, Willa Cather, Patricia Highsmith, Iris Murdoch, Djuna Barnes, Mavis Gallant—is zero, that orange is the new baby pink, that The Tale of Genji has no plot but plenty of drama about paternity, that babies exude an intoxicating black magic, and that a baby is a goldmine. 

About the Author

RIVKA GALCHEN's 2008 first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, and her 2014 story collection, American Innovations, were both New York Times Best Books of the Year. She has received many awards, as well as an MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Galchen lives in New York City.

Praise For…

Galchen does something more profound than tackle motherhood; she utterly reinvents and reanimates the subject. 
— Christopher Bollen

Witty and delightfully intelligent. 
— Carolyn Kellogg

A quietly revolutionary little book.

Everything one could possibly need is dispensed via dense, tiny, mysterious pellets—a fortified shot of literary enrichment we didn't even know we needed, but that now feels vital and enthralling.

A highly original book: I adore Galchen's quiet and bravery. I am confident that many mothers (and other
sleepless readers) will pick up this book and feel that they have found an
unexpectedly intimate friend.

Not your mother’s motherhood lit. Brief, gemlike reflections on adjusting to
life under the rule of a baby daughter (called ‘the puma’): it's a book that will ring both familiar and

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811222969
ISBN-10: 0811222969
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: March 26th, 2019
Pages: 144
Language: English