Mother Ship
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Mother Ship

4.51 (39 ratings by Goodreads)
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`Heart-wrenching, heart-warming and heartfelt - Mother Ship is a beautifully crafted, warts-and-all love letter to our wonderful NHS' Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt

`Our greatest gift to one another is this: each woman here has been swept out by a riptide, pulled far from the current of normal motherhood. Apart and all together in this space, our odd craft, we are drawn back into the folds of the unremarkable.'

After her identical twin girls are born ten weeks prematurely, Francesca Segal finds herself sitting vigil in the `mother ship' of neonatal intensive care, all romantic expectations of new parenthood obliterated. Her gripping diary of those months combines the tenderness of a love poem with the compulsive pace of a thriller. As each day brings a fresh challenge for her and her babies, Francesca makes a temporary life among a band of mothers who are vivid, fearless, and inspiring, taking care not only of their children but of one another.

MOTHER SHIP is an intimate, raucous, sublime and electrifying memoir. It is a hymn to the sustaining power of women's friendships, and a loving celebration of the two small girls - and their mother - who defy the odds.

'If there was ever a book that perfectly depicted the emotional highs, and dark dark lows of having a baby in NICU, Mother Ship is it. This beautiful book is as empowering as it is fragile and precious' Clemmie Hooper

'Mother Ship is a masterclass in style. A beautiful, lyrical memoir that navigates the unpredictable landscape of NICU and the will to survive' Christie Watson, author of The Language of Kindness

'Segal writes with delicate eloquence, combining passion and comic understatement so deftly that this feels the only way the book could have been written... I don't think I've turned the pages so urgently in a book about motherhood before' Lara Feigal, Guardian
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 138 x 204 x 28mm | 375g
  • CHATTO & WINDUS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1784742694
  • 9781784742690
  • 689

Review Text

"Segal's moving memoir reveals not only what it takes to keep premature babies alive, but also what it means to be human and a mother"
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Review quote

"A heart-wrenching insight into what must have been such a fragile, overwhelming and terrifying time - yet there's humour in there too. Beautiful" * Giovanna Fletcher * "[Segal] writes with delicate eloquence, combining passion and comic understatement so deftly that this feels the only way the book could have been written... I don't think I've turned the pages so urgently in a book about motherhood before" -- Lara Feigal * Guardian * "A beautiful memoir: wise, moving and profoundly humane. Segal writes with such exquisite clarity that each word is a gift, each sentence a votive offering. Mother Ship moved me to tears, but it also taught me the unassailable power of decency and kindness when life is at its most fragile and vulnerable. A book that left me changed for having read it" * Elizabeth Day * "As gripping as a thriller and as moving as a love story" -- Amanda Craig * Spectator * "A compelling and emotionally taut exploration of what it means to be a parent in unexpected and challenging circumstances... The pages of Mother Ship are filled with love, anguish, despair and hope in the face of adversity. As a memoir, it is both insightful and moving; as a diary of 56 days in neonatal care, it is an exquisitely written paean to motherhood" * Observer * "I was bowled over by the beauty and terror of Mother Ship. I'm in awe of Francesca Segal's honesty and courage, never mind her sublime, subtle writing. This is a vital, necessary book, not just about motherhood but about survival, care and the sustaining power of women in adversity" * Olivia Laing * "This is a marvellous humbling book about the fear and joy of giving birth to incredibly tiny premature twins. It's so tender, so moving, so blackly comic, and so involving your own heart beats fast as you read on." * Dame Jacqueline Wilson * "[A] radiant memoir... Segal writes beautifully... Mother Ship stands out most of all for its refreshing absence of solipsism... Instead, she has written a paean to the depthless kindness of other people: the solidarity of fellow mothers who sustain each other with pastries and sound advice; the peerless machinery of the NHS, with its unsung army of workers... Segal's writing...serves as its own restorative act of love" * Daily Telegraph * "If there was ever a book that perfectly depicted the emotional highs, and dark dark lows of having a baby in NICU, Mother Ship is it. Francesca has captured the essence of mothering premature twins, the encounters with midwives and nurses but most importantly the friendships she bonds with fellow mothers in the milking shed. This beautiful book is as empowering as it is fragile and precious" * Clemmie Hooper * "Francesca Segal is an award-winning writer and Mother Ship is a masterclass in style. A beautiful, lyrical memoir that navigates the unpredictable landscape of NICU and the will to survive." * Christie Watson, author of The Language of Kindness * "Transcendent, moving, but thoughtful and necessary too, Mother Ship is its own miraculous achievement" -- Lucy Scholes * Financial Times * "Heart-wrenching, heart-warming and heartfelt - Mother Ship is a beautifully crafted, warts-and-all love letter to our wonderful NHS" * Adam Kay * "[Mother Ship] deals with everything from libido to breastfeeding in a way that is simultaneously heart wrenching and deeply funny" * Vogue * "Francesca's writing is vivid and moving, bruised and beautiful, in this almost painfully tender account of precarious motherhood" * Sunday Express * "Beautifully written and profoundly moving... A powerful, poetic and deeply affecting reminder of precious your life and health are" * Daily Mirror * "A gorgeously written account of the 56 days the writer Francesca Segal spent with her critically ill twin girls in ICU after they were born ten weeks prematurely. Part thriller, part love letter to her daughters and the NHS" * Metro * "A tender, truthful, heartbreaking meditation on motherhood. There are medical emergencies, worries and Francesca's constant guilt. But there's also love, and gratitude for the support of the NHS and her fellow mothers. Beautiful" * Psychologies * "I can't think of another book I have read recently that has made me laugh and cry so much. It is full of wisdom, and humour." * Sathnam Sanghera * "Even if I wasn't a new mother, I would have found Mother Ship absorbing and emotionally charged, but reading it in bursts while my own baby was napping, it was almost unbearably painful - and beautiful too. Almost every chapter brought tears to my eyes as we learned of the twins' hard-won developments. I'm so glad Francesca managed to capture this difficult time - her book is a beacon of hope." * Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun * "I loved Francesca Segal's luminous memoir. It captures so much of what it is like to have a baby in special care and to start being a mother not-at-home. It is so good on resilience, friendship and love" * Samantha Ellis * "Mother Ship is a beautiful, poetic book about a different kind of motherhood, or at least a different start to motherhood that you don't hear as much about. It educated me about the shadowy other world of birth, that of severely prem babies... It's an exceptionally well-written memoir" * Pandora Sykes * "[Segal] is a natural, fluent writer and, in this book, the reader will feel confident in her hands even as she explores a shattering episode in family life... Segal is brilliant at conveying the tedium and the trials of life in the ICU and beyond. In short, Mother Ship is simply compelling" -- Anne Garvey * Jewish Chronicle * "Hopeful, harrowing...and darkly funny, Mother Ship has you laughing, crying and frantically turning the pages to discover how it all turns out" * i * "[Segal's] words are a powerful, poetic and deeply affecting reminder of how precious are life, health and the everyday" * Daily Express * "This first English version of Stalingrad is a triumph on many levels... [Stalingrad] captures a definitive moment... [and Grossman] delivers an enduring tribute to the power of human spirit" * UK Press Syndication * "Segal's moving memoir reveals not only what it takes to keep premature babies alive, but also what it means to be human and a mother" * Vogue, *Summer reads of 2019* * "Mother Ship is a huge achievement for Segal, who has produced a memoir that promises to linger with you like a literary earworm... an extraordinary testament to the power of human survival" * Sunday Times * "Vivid, fearless and inspiring... This is an intimate and electrifying memoir. It is a hymn to the sustaining power of women's friendships, and a loving celebration of the two small girls - and their mother - who defy the odds" * SheerLuxe, *Summer reads of 2019* *
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About Francesca Segal

Francesca Segal is an award-winning writer and journalist. Her first novel, The Innocents, won the 2012 Costa First Novel Award, the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, the 2013 Sami Rohr Prize, and a Betty Trask Award. Her most recent novel, The Awkward Age (`smart, soulful and compelling', Nick Hornby) was published in 2017.
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Rating details

39 ratings
4.51 out of 5 stars
5 67% (26)
4 26% (10)
3 3% (1)
2 3% (1)
1 3% (1)
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