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In Brood, a stunning new voice depicts one woman's attempt to keep her four chickens alive while reflecting on a recent loss.

About the Author

Jackie Polzin lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and children. Brood is her first novel.


Some novelists floodlight the world; Polzin uses a penlight to beautifully illuminate the least glamorous corners of a quotidian life . . . Her observation of the fragility and loveliness of daily life is so sharp and her commentary so droll, trenchant and precise, that the modest world she describes becomes almost numinous. * Washington Post *
A novel about the loss of a child pretending to be a novel about chickens, it is a brilliant novel about chickens . . . addictive to read . . . Jackie Polzin is a marvellous writer. -- Tanya Gold * Spectator *
Once you see her devotion to the chickens through the prism of thwarted parenthood, her account of nurturing, feeding and protecting takes on a painful poignancy . . . Though quietly moving, our narrator tells her story with a dry wit, and fans of Elizabeth Strout and Anne Tyler will devour it. * Daily Mirror *
Polzin writes beautifully about chickens; she is lovingly cleareyed about their "idiocy" and their dearness. She writes beautifully about everything: the sound of melting snow at the end of a Minnesota winter; a forgotten container of orange sherbet frosted over; private emotion. Her eye for physical detail is surprising, gimlet . . . It's a pleasure to see what Polzin sees. -- Elizabeth McCracken * New York Times *
Acutely observed . . . and the chickens provide metaphors for the world at large. * New Yorker *
Brood, which chronicles a year of grief subsumed through care, abounds in wit, charm, and the very mystery of being. -- Joy Williams, author of The Visiting Privilege
Oh, did I love this book and its magnificent cast of characters-human and avian alike. Brood is the most vibrant and compelling slice of life I've been privy to in a great while-it's generous, original, and witty, an absolute treasure of a novel. -- Claire Lombardo, bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had
A truly lovely book, and so perfectly balanced - it felt like a masterclass in how to tell a story through restraint. -- Jessie Greengrass, author of The High House

I loved Polzin's philosophical way of writing and the narrator's stoicism in the face of one loss after another . . . Splendidly unsentimental, quirky, witty, smart and a complete one-off.

A beautiful book: sharp and funny and wonky in a way that only accentuates its depth of feeling, its clarity of thought, and its desperately human sadness. -- Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies
This is the most wonderful book! Acutely observed and flawlessly conveyed. Completely original, full of surprise, humor, grief, and wisdom and just the right amount of chickens. I am hugely on board with Brood. -- Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Written with such wry charm, such lightness of touch, you don't realise how far it's got under your skin until it's too late to stop reading. I read Brood in one go. Very funny, very sad, very wise. * Lucy Caldwell *
A profound, uniquely enchanting big hearted novel. Unforgettable and deeply affecting. -- Irenosen Okojie, author of Nudibranch
I have never read a book like this one. Written with such delicacy, such elegance, the prose made me feel that the narrator has opened her heart to me, even as she withholds so much. This was a book about everything-joy and love and beauty and loss. Marriage and motherhood and friendship and grief. All brought to life through the story of a little backyard flock. I was surprised at every turn, moved to laughter and tears both-I could not put it down. -- Emily Ruskovich, author of Idaho
A book about caretaking, about trauma and loss, about keeping others and one's self alive, with sentences so confident and exact they continually took my breath away, Brood is that rare book that lives inside of you long after it's over, that reminds you of the vast amounts of life that language is capable of conjuring. -- Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want
Brood is beautifully written in a sparse, elegant style and is sharply observed. It's a compassionate portrait of a grieving woman. I absolutely loved her connection with the chickens, and although it is heartbreaking in places, I was left with a hopeful feeling. For me Brood is about beauty in the small things, those ordinary moments that make up a life. It strikes the perfect balance of tender and wry. -- Haleh Agar, author of Out of Touch
Witty and profound . . . Told in short vignettes studded with breath-catching wisdom, this novel feels both delicate and sustaining from beginning to end. * Publisher's Weekly *
What pleasant alchemy is this novel? Polzin's debut conjures humors and sadness in Minnesota, where the narrator ponders the potential of motherhood, a pending move, and the strangeness of raising animals who force us to consider the world in a new, slower, sideways perspective (which leads us to wonder: maybe the strangeness is us?). -- Most Anticipated 2021 Preview * The Millions *

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