Book review: Brood by Jackie Polzin

brood jackie polzinIn Brood, an unnamed woman narrator tells the story of the chickens she keeps in her yard – their laying habits, their  personalities, their small adventures.

Almost incidentally, she reveals details of her own life – her marriage to a clever but distant academic, her successful friend who employs her as a cleaner, her tough, resourceful mother. You sense the tension in her, but only slowly is its cause revealed.

Brood is beautifully written. It’s like a film shot with a tight angle. It takes place mostly in the narrator’s home, mostly in the present, but that very framing gives a powerful sense of what is unseen and unsaid.

I kept thinking Brood would build to a dramatic crescendo. In fact not much happens (for the humans, at least!). Brood maintains the same restrained tone throughout, while at the same time giving a sense of a build to a climax, of a story told, and a satisfying resolution. That’s a hard combination to pull off and it makes for a memorable read.

I received a copy of Brood from the publisher via Netgalley.
View Brood on Goodreads


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