LETTER TO A CHILD NEVER BORN by Oriana Fallaci

LETTER TO A CHILD NEVER BORN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The celebrated Italian journalist, noted for her ability to stun potentates into untoward admissions, here uses her own brief pregnancy (she miscarried in the third month) to bludgeon the reader with iron dialectic. Certainly the doubts and turmoil attendant on unsought pregnancy are a legitimate source of confessional illumination, but Fallaci harangues instead of intuiting: her emotional states are inflated to headline size until they lose tension--and meaning. Fallaci decides not to abort her child: ""It all happened because it could happen. . . with the only arrogance that is legitimate. . . . I take the responsibility of choice."" As she follows the photographs of a model fetus from week to week (now a ""mysterious flower,"" now a ""pretty little larva""), she discusses love, the child's father, and crushing inequality between male and female, rich and poor, society and the unwed mother. She knows the moon to be fouled by the excrement of astronauts and the world to be fouled by cruelties. Finally her unborn child dies, and she imagines it accusing her of discouraging birth into a life with no meaning. Yet Fallaci concludes that the reason for being born is that life itself will never die. An exposition of grim intensity unmodulated by wit or much warmth--but given the Fallaci name and current preoccupations, assured of an audience.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Simon & Schuster