Six days ago, Dorothy had a miscarriage. At the novel’s opening, she is examining the “thick, curdled knots of string” that are still coming out of her body. Her doctor had told her that the bleeding would stop in a few days, but it hasn’t.
She considers the miscarriage as ‘less than a trauma and more than an inconvenience.’ Like everything that happens to Dorothy, she observes the events of her life with detached interest.
Piercingly intelligent and darkly funny, The Life of the Mind is a novel about endings: of youth, of professional aspiration, of possibility, of the illusion that our minds can ever free us from the tyranny of our bodies. Christine Smallwood’s stunning novel inhabits the abyss between what we think about and what we actually do.
Christine Smallwood's fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, n+1, and Vice. Her reviews, essays, and cultural reporting have been published in many magazines, including The New Yorker, Bookforum, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and The New York Times Magazine, where she is a contributing writer. She has also written the "New Books" column for Harper's Magazine, where she is a contributing editor, and been an editor at The Nation.