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Brood

by Jackie Polzin

Brood:

  1. Noun: a family of birds produced at one hatching. “a brood of chicks”
  2. Verb: think deeply about something that makes one unhappy, angry or worried
  3. Verb: hover over, as of something threatening, dark or menacing
  4. Verb: sit on eggs to incubate/hatch them
  5. Adjective broody: wishing/having a strong desire for a baby

Meet Gloria, Gam Gam, Darkness, Miss Hennepin County, and their owner. Over the course of a year, our nameless narrator heroically tries to keep her small brood of four chickens alive despite the seemingly endless challenges that caring for another creature entails. From the freezing nights of a brutal winter to a sweltering summer which brings a surprise tornado, she battles predators, bad luck, and the uncertainty of a future that may not look anything like the one she always imagined. 

Having lovingly kept chickens in our back garden in Joburg – Nuggets, KFC, Nibbles and Chicken Licken –  I was instantly drawn to Brood and its delightful examination of the lives of these odd little creatures!  But I was equally taken by the narrator’s everyday observations and her gradual acceptance of the fact that she will probably never have children of her own. Quirky, inquisitive, funny, sad, unexpected, observant, an examination of small, ordinary things as well as big, buried emotions.  A lovely little book on everyday life, marriage, longing and hope.

Watch the author, Jackie Polzin, here chatting about the book.

Completely original, full of surprise, humour, grief, and wisdom and just the right amount of chickens – Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

The narrative is full of such sharp, distinctive observations as the narrator works to move on from her desire to have children. Told in short vignettes studded with breath-catching wisdom, this novel feels both delicate and sustaining from beginning to end – Publishers Weekly

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