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Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy audiobook review – a thrillingly blunt take on new motherhood

Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy audiobook review – a thrillingly blunt take on new motherhood

A thrillingly blunt account of new motherhood, Claire Kilroy’s Soldier Sailor has been shortlisted for the Women’s prize, and finds its narrator addressing her baby, whom she calls Sailor, as she reports from life at the domestic coalface. Blending the profound and the soul-sappingly mundane, she talks of her fierce love for her son while navigating the purgatory of laundry, mealtimes, baby groups, trips to the playground, broken nights and exhaustion. In between relaying the routine of her days, she reflects on her altered identity – “I was just a woman! How has this not registered before?” ­– and observes the inequity of life as the mother of an infant where the working world is “an adult place from which I’ve been banished” and during which she has become an “indoor creature indentured to domesticity”.

The narrator is the Irish actor Simone Collins, who leans into Kilroy’s dark humour and the protagonist’s compulsive frankness, which leads her to swear vociferously at her little boy – who by now is nearly two – after he wanders off in Ikea. But the villain of the piece is her lazy, tactless husband who, on getting home from work, heaps judgment on his wife for her chaotic, frazzled state and who believes changing the occasional nappy qualifies him as an “involved father”. When he suggests his wife has postnatal depression, she duly erupts: “This is life-is-shit depression … I miss my old life like I’d miss a lover. I pine for it. I daydream about leaving you so that I can be with it again. You’d like to diagnose postnatal depression because then it’s not your fault.”

Soldier Sailor is available from Faber, 6hr 15min

Further listening

Capote’s Women
Laurence Leamer, Hodder & Stoughton, 10hr 25min
A gossipy group biography of the New York socialites, known as “swans”, who were friends with Truman Capote, among them Lee Radziwill, sister of Jacqueline Kennedy, and political activist Pamela Harriman. Carrington MacDuffie reads.

The Kellerby Code
Jonny Sweet, Bolinda Audio, 10hr 57min
Actor Jack Davenport narrates this Saltburn-esque tale of murder and social climbing set in an English country house and revolving around a duplicitous outsider named Edward.

Source: theguardian.com