The Bukowski Agency - The Birth Yard

Read an excerpt
See also www.mallorytater.com

80,000 words
Final manuscript due fall 2018

RIGHTS SOLD

Canada: HarperCollins, 2020

ABOUT MALLORY TATER

Mallory Tater (Photo: Allie Kenny Photography)
(Photo: Allie Kenny Photography)

Mallory Tater was the recipient of the Young Buck Poetry Prize in 2016 and 2017. She has been shortlisted for the 2017 Journey Prize for Fiction, The Malahat Review’s 2016 Far Horizon’s Contest, Room Magazine’s 2016 Fiction and Poetry Prizes, and Arc Magazine’s 2015 Poem of The Year Contest. In 2018, she published her first poetry collection, This Will Be Good. She is the publisher of Rahila’s Ghost Press.

The Birth Yard

a novel by Mallory Tater

A PRESENT-DAY TALE OF PATRIARCHY GONE AWRY

Sable Ursu has just turned eighteen, which means she is ready to breed. Within the confines of her world, a patriarchal cult known as The Den, female fertility and sexuality is wholly controlled by Men. In the season they come of age, Sable and her friends, Mamie and Dinah, are paired with a Match with whom they will breed. This pairing, decided upon by The Den Leader, Feles, is assigned according to paternal genetics and social rank, and a child must be conceived. The Matches are scheduled to breed when the female’s fertility is at its peak. They are led to the Breeding Tents where they have an hour, timed and monitored by Den officials. Sable knows she is lucky. Her Match, Ambrose, is kind, thoughtful, and cautious. Others are less fortunate. Mamie’s Match, Isaac abuses her. The bruises track up and down her body. She won’t speak up, she refuses to bring shame on her family, but Sable is determined to protect her friend. She breaks into a house to find proof of Isaac’s crime, but when she is found out and reported, her reputation is thrown into question. She is deemed hysterical—the worst thing a woman can be in the eyes of The Den.

Sable is shipped to the birth yard, where the girls her age will be monitored and drugged into submission until they give birth. Not every pregnancy is an easy one. Miscarriages are punished if discovered. Carrying a baby conceived outside of the assigned Match is inexcusable. Women of The Den must decide where their trust lies: with their government or with each other—every choice has its consequences. But when Sable’s loyalty is questioned and her safety within The Den threatened, she must rebel against the only life she has ever known—the only life she has been designed for.

Mallory Tater weaves an intricate narrative, equal parts suspense and action, while twisting contemporary social anxieties to dizzying extremes. She meticulously deconstructs the intricate relationship between womanhood, government, and the female body, a conflict on the forefront of global politics and the modern conscience. A startling and important debut novel, The Birth Yard echoes Atwood’s dark and cautionary classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, while redefining dystopian society as an eerie presence looming on the periphery of our world. There has been no apocalypse, there is no totalitarian government. The Den exists now.

 

 

 

Back to top