The Child: A great book inspired by the pram in the hall
Kjersti A Skomsvold’s compelling account of an artist’s journey to motherhood
Kjersti A Skomsvold writes with empathetic clarity on the sensibility of the artist
Billed as a portrait of the artist as a young mother, Kjersti A Skomsvold’s The Child delivers a concise, compelling account of the journey from singledom to family life. The “young” is somewhat misplaced – the writer at the centre of the book is in her mid-30s by the time she settles down. A beloved great-aunt even admits to the narrator’s partner that she’d given up hope of the prospect. It is one of many engaging scenes that manages to impart a wealth of feeling with a few carefully chosen strokes.
The vignette style of The Child, which is narrated to the central character’s new baby girl, recalls the writing of authors such as Maggie Nelson, Sheila Heti and Jenny Offill, all of whom write brilliantly on the subject of modern motherhood, its delights and demands. While Skomsvold explores what Jenny Offill terms the “art monster” – where a child takes up the time and energy that might otherwise be spent creatively – she is more interested in highlighting the joy of parenting and the small, everyday pleasures that can be found in family life.