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The Delivery Room: A Novel
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The Delivery Room: A Novel

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  206 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
It is 1998. In the safe haven of her London office—a room her husband jokingly calls “The Delivery Room”—therapist Mira Braverman listens to the stories of her troubled patients, including an aristocratic woman going through an intense infertility drama, an American journalist who is eager to have a baby, and an irritable divorcé who likes to taunt Mira about her Serbian n ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Counterpoint (first published May 3rd 2006)
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Jan 17, 2012 Erica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember how I came across this book... I picked it up becauase of the focus on the interactions between a therapist and her clients. The "delivery room" is what the therapist's husband calls his wife's office. What I didn't realize at the time until I got into the book... issues of having children are central. No interest in going there. I am coming to terms with the liklihood that I will not give birth to a child. My patience with the magic of all things maternal is worn quite thin. Bu ...more
Emma  Kaufmann
A Serbian therapist (Mira Braverman) gives therapy to many disturbed patients in London 1998 and 1999 against the background of the Kosovo war. I just found it unbelievably boring and rambling. I don't want to know every thought in a person's head .... unless that person is interesting. The author did not engage me emotionally in any of the characters dilemmas or problems.
May 15, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
I had greatly looked forward to this book, and figured the themes would be right up my alley. But sadly, it did not live up to my hopes. I enjoyed it just fine, but was not compelled enough to recommend it. I always find it interesting to read a novel where the protagonist is a therapist or analyst. I wonder how a writer manages to know so well the kinds of inner tensions, thoughts, actions and behaviors and reasonings that are so well known and understood by those practicing in this field. In f ...more
Anne Goodwin
The delivery room is the moniker Mira Braverman‘s husband, Peter, ascribes to the office in their North London flat from which she operates her psychotherapy practice. Over a period of just over a year, the reader bears vicarious witness to the trials and tribulations of her patients while Mira struggles to prevent her own pain intruding upon the therapeutic hour.
This is a beautiful novel about what it is to be human: about birth and death; grief and yearning; and the boundaries between public a
Mar 24, 2009 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must say, I just didn't get the hype surrounding this book. It is, in spots, beautifully-written. But the story was slow and the individual stories/characters much less interesting than they could have -- and should have -- been. Also annoying is that the author insists on shifting point of view from paragraph to paragraph, without any indication or warning, so that the reader has to (or, at least I did)constantly go back and re-read a passage to figure out who's POV you're in at any given tim ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 2007.

Sylvia Brownrigg's third novel is her darkest so far. Its main themes are given by three different symbolic or real life associations prompted by the title: birth, psychiatric therapy, and death. The main character is a Serbian psychotherapist named Mira, who faces additional worries apart from those connected to her pations (many of whom are women with problems connected, either literally or figuratively, to childbirth). Though living and wor
Jenni Ogden
Mar 31, 2012 Jenni Ogden rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was a difficult book to rate. It is very much a literary novel and well written, but I found it heavy going at times. I usually love long books but this was too long. The characters were hard to connect with, although Mira, the main character, a Serbian psychoanalyst living in the UK, was well drawn, and her interactions in a country where Serbia is seen as the bad guy certainly gave me food for thought about prejudice. The stories of Mira's clients and her interactions with them were not c ...more
I can't remember what was the original impetus to read this book. Set at the time that the Balkans conflicts filled the media, a Serbian psychotherapist married to an academic and living in London sees clients, many with issues around children. Her husband discovered he had a son when the boy was seven years old and although they do have a relationship which has carried on into the son's adulthood and marriage, it is slightly uneasy. Uneasier still with the Serbian wife with whom the son clashes ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Monique rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't want kids
Very well written book, but didn't grab me. It was about a psychotherapist named Mira who lives with her englishman, Peter. Peter gets cancer and the illness brings together him and his stepson, Graham, and his expecting wife, Clare in a way no one expected. We get a glimpse of some of Mira's patients, and the kooky way she nicknames all of them (The Bigot, the American...etc), which is all very nice and cute and warm and different but at the same time I felt they weren't interesting enough. Plu ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Mimi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
The Delivery Room in this novel is not a place of birth, but the room in which psychologist Mira Braverman meets with her clients. She is an ex-pat Serb living in London and married to a British man. Her country is disintegrating, and her adopted country is readying to begin bombing.
Meanwhile, her professor husband is diagnosed with cancer and as she deals with his care, his son - who he did not meet until age 7 - and his wife begin to become more involved in his life.

The set up of this novel i
Monica Akinyi Odhiambo
This was the best book I read this year, I mean..the issues explored in this novel ranged from having babies, to NATO wars, to infertility to religion.I felt that I was involved in all the therapy sessions that Mira had in her home especially with the nicknames her husband Peter used to give them.It was witty,indulging with a deep sense of character.It took me awhile to finish reading this novel but am glad I was patient enough.I tend to appreciate novels that are segmented well into ...more
Mar 03, 2009 Janice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I have read by this author, the first being "The Metaphysical Touch" many years ago, which I loved. This newer one is also beautifully written--almost a stream of consciousness--much of the book reveals the thoughts and feelings in intricate detail of Mira Braverman, who is a Serbian woman, a therapist, livng in London in the late 90's, while her country is being attacked, both literally and by the press and public outcry around the world. At the same time Mira is attempt ...more
Aug 24, 2009 Jami rated it liked it
Well, I can certainly understand the mixed reviews this book has received. There are quite a few characters introduced in the first bit of the book and it became difficult to follow who was speaking. The determined readers that choose to push on will be rewarded by a charming story of relationships and the many issues that can both complicate and illuminate them. This story felt mostly to be about the inevitable connectedness that exists in our world regardless of the unlimited differences betwe ...more
Mike Finn
Sep 15, 2015 Mike Finn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really well written story about a therapist and her relationships with her patients and more particularly with her dying husband.
Apr 16, 2009 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugh...I can't believe how long it took me to read this book! I just could not muster the enthusiasm needed to pick it up every night. This book is incredibly dense and a difficult read. I kept wishing the author would have focused on one story line (her patient's fertility dramas, her husband's grave illness, or the war in her home country and the predjudices she faces as an expatriate in London) instead of the three possibly even four I was able to pull out of this novel. This compounded with t ...more
Lisa Knott
Great characters and a moving look at the effects of grief and complicated family relationships.
Jul 10, 2012 Marja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A hard, at times more than a little depressing read about life and death (haha) and the inner workings of the mind. Fairly modernist and traditional, I suppose, this one's nevertheless endearing - not to mention one of the more interesting books I've read so far this year (but then again, it's only March). With its minuscule private tragedies set against the backdrop of war, it has a strong vision about the remedying power of stories and the narratives that come to define us, whether we feel we ...more
The idea of the "delivery room" is a clever one, and the procession of patients through it, whose stories you share during the book, each with their own sub-plots. Otherwise nothing happens and everything happens: as one of the reviews on the cover says "full of texture and detail", and the language is rich and dense. I don't agree with the "grippingly readable" bit though, at no time was I compelled to keep reading to find out what happened next....
Nov 08, 2008 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 - I liked it a lot. Especially parts of it. But she tried to convey a lot in one almost felt like two novels in one. Great story line; love, sadness, war, difficult relationships...etc. I have managed to leave off the last few books I've read; every time I am on the computer, I am off reading political blogs; perhaps now I can get back to my real reading life? Or perhaps not...wish I was better at this...

Jul 03, 2007 Gemma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
I read this book after a foray into magical realism and it was such a relief!

The novel is based around a serbian psycotherapist working in north london. the rhythm of the writing is calming and the various characters all very real, and by the end even the unpleasant ones have become three dimensional, understandable and perhaps even likable.

This book seemed relevant and important in a way that rushdie didn't!
Jun 08, 2012 sisterimapoet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sisterimapoet by: Mew
Shelves: fiction-2012
A very well handled novel. The way the characters interweaved, the way the client and therapists stories overlapped and informed each other. Intelligent content throughout but never at the expense of readability. This is the sort of book that doesn't come along that often, that you feel satisfied at many levels, like you've learned something, gained something from reading it, but it was never a chore to achieve.
An interesting take on migration, war, and cultural difference set in a seldom written about period -- the ethnic wars and breakdown of Yugoslavia. This gives an interesting twist to a story that is primarily about the struggles with life and death -- the struggle to conceive, to maintain relations with children, and to come to terms with those relations in the face of death. A good read.
Mary Kay
Dec 15, 2009 Mary Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is about a Serbian therapist in London in the 1990s, who marries the love of her life & has a knack for helping people. Then comes the conflict in her homeland which causes her great distress. Later, her beloved gets cancer & dies. All in all, I had a tough time slogging through this book because I had little empathy with the protagonist.
Jul 09, 2012 Devil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very sad, moving book, with some scenes of redemption.
Was mostly interested in the psychotherapy side of the book, the patients and their stories.
Well-written and very rich but perhaps if it was a little shorter it would have been less tiring. This will be followed by some necessary light reading ;)
Carolyn Crocker
Mar 13, 2010 Carolyn Crocker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memory, mortality, motherhood --these issues thread through the stories patients tell Mira Braverman, Serb émigré psychotherapist, in 1990s London. War over Kosovo. her past and precarious present life force her out of her professional role to face her own buried truth. Lyrical and moving.

Mar 05, 2008 Milay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a heavy read for me but a literary delicacy all the way through. Sylvia's writing is exquisitely elaborate and intricate enough to give your brain a workout. I would say this is a very real and intimate story of a few people going through some inevitable turns of life.
Jan 20, 2008 Dolly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking book. Brilliantly observed characters that are well drawn and very real. A highly talented writer. A difficult, challenging subject. It's an affecting book that's definately not a light holiday read. Very worthwhile reading.
Jul 10, 2014 Becky marked it as did-not-finish
I'm sorry, The Delivery Room. I know I didn't give you enough of a chance to pique my interest before I put you on the did-not-finish shelf in favor of five shiny new books from the library. Really, it's not you, it's me.
this came out of left field. although, reflecting on brownrigg's other books, maybe not so left field. maybe there is no left field. not my favorite of her books, though i enjoyed it. it just felt very dense.
Dec 30, 2009 Julia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
DNF. I thought it might have been a bit too serious for me right now. I liked the therapy angle, the family relationships, but the Serbia angle didn't develop enough for me to really get into.
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Sylvia Brownrigg is the author of 5 works of fiction, including the novels Morality Tale and The Delivery Room. Her work has appeared on the New York Times list of Notable Fictions, the LA Times books of the year, and she has won a Lambda award for fiction. She lives in Berkeley with her family."
More about Sylvia Brownrigg...

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