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Saul

Rosemary Kay

31 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312253338 / ISBN 13: 9780312253332
Published by St. Martin's Press, 2000
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Saul

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 1st.

About this title

Synopsis:

Saul weighed only 1 lb., 4 oz. when he was born, and fitted into the palm of the midwife's hand. But he arrived kicking and screaming -- and clearly wanted to live.

Saul is the powerful and thought-provoking story of the author's own son, who was born after 23 weeks in the womb. (There are a handful of 23 weekers who have survived intact. There are no surviving 22 weekers.) Told from the tiny baby's point of view, the resulting fictional memoir is an unforgettable voice from another world. With surprising insight and humor -- and a distinct and intriguing personality -- the narrator shows himself to be both a vulnerable baby and a wise, sometimes mischievous, little boy with a purpose. His story is one of hope and courage, of supreme trust and tragic betrayal, and above all, of the triumph of the human spirit.

"Saul spent four months in the neonatal intensive care unit, and each day was packed with human wit and superhuman endeavor. Everyone who knew him wants his story to be told." -- Rosemary Kay

Review:

Rosemary Kay's unclassifiable book--equal parts novel, biography, and autobiography--is an imaginative first-person memoir of a premature baby's experiences in the neonatal intensive care unit of an English hospital. Saul, the author's son, was born after only 23 weeks' gestation, weighing just one pound, four ounces. Instead of being bundled into his loving mother's arms after delivery, he was consigned to a plastic incubator, with a ventilation tube running down his throat, heart monitors taped to his chest, and liquid nourishment dripping through an umbilical line. His chief experience of touch came every four hours, when blood had to be drawn, or when his tube was suctioned clean. Considering the events of his short life, Saul conceives of a new vocabulary to try to differentiate parts of the world that blur together for him: "This Living," for example, as distinct from life in the womb, or the place where he plays and talks with Grandaddy, long dead. Nurses are given names like "Clean Flowers" or "Nasty." The renaming helps establish that everything is new for the baby, although his use of language is otherwise advanced. After a medical emergency, when it was feared he might die, Saul describes his sense of being accompanied on his journey--and not only by "them," his parents.

We are rushing with the wind and playing in everyone's rememberings. But, Grandaddy, I say to him, if we can go wherever we want, I know where I want to go. I want to be with them.

So Grandaddy guides me. Down, down. Closer and closer. Till we are floating in the smell of terror, leading us to the place where they have gone.

Anyone with children--perhaps anyone at all--will find this wrenching, although it is also an adventure story and a tale of courage. In the afterword, Kay explains that while her grief and regret remain, she still feels lucky to have known her son: "Saul taught me about death; he gave me an understanding that is intangible, inexplicable, a spiritual awareness." --Regina Marler

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