Pregnancy, birth and caring for an infant inspire Erdrich's reflections on being a woman, a mother and a writer in this affecting memoir of a daughter's first year. Acclaimed for her rich prose (The Beet Queen, The Bingo Palace) and lyrical poetry, Erdrich in her new work follows the seasons. In the winter the author describes her very pregnant self as a "whale in snow dunes," in the spring she gives birth, and during summer and fall she detaches from her child to re-center herself as a writer.
Coping with interrupted sleep, chicken pox and a longing for the North Dakota plains of her childhood, Erdrich, who lives on a New Hampshire farm, transforms the mundane into a paean to the mystery and wonder of the creative force, and a celebration of family, nature and memory. (HarperCollins, $21)