• The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

  • The Road to Nowhere, Book 1
  • By: Meg Elison
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,998 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth's population - killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant - the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power - and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men's clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she'll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

©2016 Meg Elison. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

"Equals" = "Annoying"

In spite of my headline, I really enjoyed this book. If not for the writer's tic of overusing "something = something", I would have given it a perfect 5 stars. The story was fascinating, and as another reviewer stated, one of the best things about the story is the author tells you how the characters the protagonist meets along the way, actually end up. Unfortunately most of them don't end up well. The other characteristic that really stood out was that the plot didn't depend on putting the main character in imminent danger over and over again, as a way to move the plot. So many books depend on continual pending disaster.

This is a post infectious disease world, where very few men and even fewer women and children survive. And the women that do survive the disease, don't seem to survive childbirth. The protagonist, a former OB/GYN nurse in a hospital encounters a wide variety of survivors and keeps a detailed diary of her life in the post-disease world.

Angela Dawe can be one of my favorite narrators. But her unique voice has to "fit" the book. She fits this book perfectly.

I

62 people found this helpful

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I liked it, I actually liked it.

I usually do not prefer the apocalyptic genre of book, and really, I took three risks, I didnt read any reviews, and bought the book before it was released, which is also something I do not do often. When I do it usually means I am desperate for a good book. I was not dissapinted. The author of this book pulls it off magnificently. All I can say is her characters were real to life, the situations where relatable, and what I would see as realistic under the cercumstances. There were multiple changes in views, which is a difficult art to learn, but this author mastered it, and the way she used them was refreshing. I have a select few books that I add to my paper collection. This will probably be one of them. I cannot say much more without ruining the book, but I encourage you to read it. Wonderful job, could not put the book down, and silently mourned it's finish.

46 people found this helpful

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warning multiple rape scenes

should tell you in the description about the multiple rape and violence. hard to hear

32 people found this helpful

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Go read Earth Abides

Do i like it?
Yep. And not...
A lot of bad language for nothing.
A lot of violence and sex.
Yet, the story is good.

If your time is spare and you want one book on the restart of humanity because a plague, go and read or listen to Earth​ Abides - 2 leagues higher.

22 people found this helpful

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A Great Dystopian Future Book, Well Narrated!

I only bother to write reviews (beyond just stars) for books I find exceptionally good or bad. I only bought this because it was on super-sale, so didn't have many expectations. I've never read anything by the author previously. Dystopian futures, though, are one of my favorite genres, and I've read a few that pre-supposed that one gender or the other was nearly wiped out, giving me something to compare it to.

I gave this 5 stars, as I listened & read it in one sitting. It's a rare book that I can not put down, and even rarer that I read the Kindle (or paperback, etc.) while listening to it. That's my favorite way of really getting into something, especially if it's a bit otherworldly, like sci-fi or dystopian futures. It makes suspending my disbelief easier and shutting my real world out simpler. Although I've read much with the same or similar topics, I did like the way this was put together. Most futuristic books begin with a world already dead or fundamentally changed, so I appreciated reading/hearing how it happened. That's rare.

I'm currently bound for the Amazon Kindle store to buy the sequel. Note to Kindle/Audible fans: Often you can get the best buy, if you know you're going to buy both, by going to the Kindle store first and checking 'Add Audible narration.' Often the narration is cheaper than what a credit is worth, so I generally save my credits. I have Kindle Unlimited as well, which is well worth the cost, IMO. Since I'm disabled and retired, I do have much more time to read than the average person.

By the way, I almost forgot to mention that the narration was great as well. It was mostly just one voice, but when other voices were required, they were good too. For me, a good narrator is one that I don't hear too much; that the voice fades away as I get immersed in the story.

20 people found this helpful

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good apocalypse book

There were a few spots where the book made you think, but this isn't a deep contemplation story. It is a good, easy listen.
My favorite thing about this book is there are no loose ends. When the main character runs into a new person, you will eventually be told what happened in a condensed 3 sentence explanation. How rare is that? That isn't something I would want in most books, but I really enjoyed hearing the stories of everyone to the end of their lives.

18 people found this helpful

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writing=style=really?=tedious

I know that title doesn't make much sense if you haven't read or heard this book but... suffice it to say, those that have understand. They may not agree but they understand. The story line was interesting for me but the authors writing style really wore on me and if I NEVER read/hear another book like this one I'll be very glad. I BARELY made it through this book. Luckily she stopped her this=that kitchy style about 1/3-1/2 of the way through the book.

16 people found this helpful

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All men are monsters

At times the characters internal monologues don't seem go anywhere and only slows the story down. If they were removed, you wouldn't miss anything.

The authors illustration of men is very shallow. The only good men are young and naive. All are driven by sex.

I did find the premiss of the book to be very interesting, but the author did not explore its full impact

14 people found this helpful

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GREAT BOOK !!

There were no reviews when I chose to try this book. Gave it a chance and it was amazing! Being a nurse myself I was really able to relate to the story. it's got everything. excitement mystery suspense drama fear love and end of the world possibilities. you won't regret listening

14 people found this helpful

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Too much for me

The only reason I'm giving this book 3 stars is because I liked the narrator. The plot had really good promise, but it fell flat bc the main character was so unlikable. I didn't mind the profanity once I got used to it, but the main character's only redeeming quality was that she was a midwife. I'm slightly offended that I was lead to believe that only the bad attitude, multi-sexual women survive the end of the world. it would have been more believable if she had hardened through the course of the book.

I also felt like I was reading (or rather listening to) a variety of porn. It was a bit too erotic for my taste.

And if none of this bothered me, I still would have been upset with the lack of events that failed to transpire after several chapters.

13 people found this helpful

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  • vicki
  • 11-13-16

Yessss

Absolutely loved loved loved this listen. This was the best of its kind in such a long time. Wish I was just starting the story I stead of finished!!!

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maureen Ricketts
  • 06-19-19

Excellent Book

Hi really enjoyed this book very good storyline. Found it very compelling reading loved the main
Character.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nancy Smith
  • 08-16-18

love a good apocalypse

Great book well written with some interesting concepts. Can't wait to read the sequel now.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-06-18

Amazing!

Recommend this to all sci-if fans. Completely different perspective on apocalyptic genre. Performance is also brilliant.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • hiude
  • 01-07-18

A good read or listen.

Not a gripping read or a thrilling one at that. no zombies, just reality as it may be...
It reads true to how I think things may roll, if this happened in real life. Hence it Kept me hooked for 2 days worth of listening.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • April
  • 01-06-18

chilling but brilliant

chilling but brilliant listened to it in less than 24 hours. brilliant book haven't been this engaged in a long time

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-08-17

Loved it.

Listened to audio reading in a single day. Beautifully read and performed. A great thought provoking story.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Georgina
  • 09-20-20

Very good

As we are in our own pandemic, this book made me realise how lucky we are. The pore women I this book broke my heart. If your a fan of “The Handmaids Tale” this is a book for you too.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C.Simpson
  • 02-06-20

Impeccable reading, great story

I had heard nothing about this book and bought it on a whim. Best decision ever. I loved this book. The story line was great and I felt like it was a reality of how this kind of problem would play out. It felt quite close to home what with the new virus that’s out at the moment. The reader was perfect, I will look for more books read by them. So many different voices articulating the characters- it was a great performance. I want more!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • weasal
  • 10-03-18

A lot of potential but ultimately fell a bit flat

Hmm, what to say about this one. As a big fan of post-apocalyptic fare, I'm always excited to see stories written by women, about women. There were lots of elements to this that had potential, but it just never seemed to come together as one captivating piece overall. The protagonist (unnamed as the title suggests) is fairly fleshed out in the beginning, but the writing style means I never felt fully connected to her. It jumps really quickly between her journal entries to then a narrator, and it just ends up being a bit jarring. It was also reeeeeally annoying, particularly with the audio version to hear her saying "something equals something equals something" over and over. If I had to hear that one more time I was going to turn it off! It would have been so much more engaging if the journal entries had been written out in proper long-form prose. I don't get why you wouldn't utilise that narrative tool to achieve that. I also groaned a lot at the whole section where she's living in unbliss in the Mormon triangle. To have a queer woman represented in a story like this was initially great, but then to have her queerness more or less erased by having her sleep with some completely lame religious zealot was disappointing and a little bizarre. Of all the things the author could have chosen to have her do in this difficult new world, she has her shack up with the two dullest people left on earth. I mean, why? I would have liked to have spent more time with her in the very last part, at Fort Nowhere. But that felt rushed and a little pointless, and we didn't get much more character development. All in all, I enjoyed parts of this but was basically left disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Isabelle
  • 12-17-20

Very intriguing!

I am a fan of dystopian fiction and this book was one of the better ones. Wasn't what I had expected but was pleasantly surprised!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bronwyn R
  • 07-17-18

Very different!

I originally downloaded this book, somehow assuming it was an historical tale.... not so! I was rapidly drawn into the unusual story line, and always keen to get back to it when time permitted. I found it thoroughly entertaining throughout, and the thought that this kind of event in the future is always possible, adds to the intrigue and fascination in how the author has created a future of massive uncertainty and peril at every turn as well as how she deals with every encounter and change in fortunes. I certainly highly recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-21

Captivating

I haven’t listened a book as quickly as I did this one. Truely, couldn’t stop. Amazing. Dark. Captivating.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 10-02-20

Phenomenal.

This is a verbal page turner with one of the best narration performances I have ever heard. I was so inside this story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MISS
  • 07-10-20

A great story

Great dystopian novel, wonderful characterisation. The story is written from the female perspective. The narration is very well done and adds to the story. A captivating story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Janine Jaede
  • 07-07-20

Love a good dystopian story

I love a good dystopian story and this one didn't disappoint. Narrator was very good.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Marigold
  • 08-02-19

The best audio book to date!

I loved this story but the audio was captivating. Angela did a stunning job. Put feeling where feeling was needed, pace and anxiety all in their rightful places = fun to listen to. Thanks Meg and Angela. Great team!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bluebeard
  • 07-31-18

This was so good

Couldn’t stop listening!!! Narrator was amazing and the story was fantastic. Just got into audiobooks and loved this.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nikita
  • 07-16-18

Enjoyable

I really enjoyed this book it kept me wanting to know more and the narration was fantastic!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Robin
  • 01-30-17

Post-apocalyptic universe is terrifying

I found this story to be unrelentingly depressing. It tells of a world where a plague has wiped out most of the human race with only a few survivors, most of them men. The women have become property, hunted, kept and raped at will. The protagonist, the unnamed midwife, makes her way across the landscape surviving by pretending to be a man, helping others as much as she can. While it is quite well written, it's a bleak environment and not enjoyable. If you're a fan of this type of story, you might 'enjoy' it. Not mine.

1 person found this helpful

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