Here’s what you should be read­ing, watch­ing and lis­ten­ing to right now.

Sheila Heti, voice of a gen­er­a­tion, has some thoughts about mother­hood.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Greg Hud­son

Ayoung fam­ily is bivouack­ing at the ta­ble across from me at this Cuban sand­wich spot in Toronto’s west side. It’s the fa­mil­iar flurry of win­ter coats and di­a­per bags and awk­ward stroller ma­noeu­vring that ac­com­pa­nies all par­ents who dare to eat out de­spite hav­ing a baby. They aren’t es­pe­cially loud or dis­rup­tive; all the ad­just­ing and nest­ing and near-con­stant prob­lem-solv­ing is just nor­mal life for par­ents. There’s a term for what is hap­pen­ing here: “syn­chronic­ity,” maybe, or “con­fir­ma­tion bias,” or “Baader-Mein­hof phe­nom­e­non”—which is that thing where you learn a word or a con­cept or about a thing and then it starts pop­ping up all over the place. The fam­ily across the aisle wouldn’t be note­wor­thy at all, re­ally, if ba­bies weren’t on my mind. And they’re on my mind be­cause I’m wait­ing to have lunch with Sheila Heti, the CANLIT It girl (if that’s pos­si­ble), about her forth­com­ing novel, Mother­hood.

But the sub­ject of her book, which is a kind of in­ter­nal de­lib­er­a­tion on whether a par­tic­u­lar woman—who hap­pens to share a few strik­ing bi­o­graph­i­cal de­tails with Heti—should choose to have a child or not, isn’t the only rea­son I no­tice the young fam­ily. It’s how the novel dis­plays Heti’s way of think­ing, how it jumps from one the­ory or epiphany to the next, like the di­ary of a young philoso­pher, and how she spins mean­ing out of ran­dom chance and stray ob­ser­va­tions. Mother­hood hasn’t just made me think about ba­bies; it has made me think about think­ing about ba­bies. And with me in that state, new par­ents walk­ing in right be­fore Heti does seems sig­nif­i­cant. »

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