Thursday 9 May 2013

Peter Rabe's From Here to Maternity (Muller, 1955) Heralds an Existential Ennui Hiatus

NB: Featured in this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

If there's been a fin-de-siecle feel to my posting of late – tying up long-running series, completing a particular book collection, drawing a (pencil) line under Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s – there's a very definite reason for that, to do with this book:

From Here to Maternity, by Peter Rabe, published in hardback by Frederick Muller in 1955. Rabe is an author I've written about repeatedly, most recently in this series of posts on what Donald E. Westlake reckoned to Rabe's remarkable cult crime fiction. But before Rabe started penning crime thriller originals for (chiefly) Gold Medal, he wrote – and drew, a skill he reportedly picked up working in advertising – From Here to Maternity, a cute if occasionally opaque (in that curious Rabe manner) account of his first wife's pregnancy which began life as an article in McCall's Magazine (the book, not the pregnancy... although I guess the two may well have gone hand in hand).

As the brighter sparks among you will have guessed, the reason the book is pertinent both to me and to Existential Ennui is that my long-suffering girlfriend, Rachel, is currently very heavily pregnant with our first child – so heavily pregnant, in fact, that the due date is tomorrow. Which, if the kid's anything like me – and it is to be fervently hoped (or possibly feared) that that should be the case, else I'll be having words with the milkman (and we don't even have a milkman) – means that she – for she is a she (we think) – will probably turn up in a fortnight's time. But that's immaterial. In practical terms, it's unlikely – although not completely out of the question – that I'll be able to devote any time to blogging even if Baby Louis(e) XIV, "The Sun Princess" elects to spend another few weeks in her mother's womb.

And even if I do manage to squeeze in a post before her royal arrival, looking further ahead, what all this will mean for Existential Ennui post-birth is anyone's guess. Certainly there'll be a hiatus, of an indeterminate length; probably there'll be a gushing missive comprising photos of Firstborn suitably arranged in some kind of ridiculous books-related fashion; hopefully, at some point, there'll be a resumption of books blogging proper, albeit no doubt necessarily scaled back. Who the hell knows though. It's an unpredictable business, this having kids thing. So wish me luck, chums. I shall, I trust, return.


  1. Best wishes to all on the imminent new arrival.

  2. I know all comments on this post are really supposed to be congratulations to you and R on your first born (so, Congratulations!) but I have to tell you that the fact that you somehow conjured up the perfect book by the almost perfect writer to introduce the big news is book-blogging at its highest level. You deserve a standing ovation for this one. Bravo!

  3. Haha, I've been itching to unveil this one! I actually gave the book to Rachel for her birthday last month... and then stole it back for this post.

  4. Oh, you clever devil. This was a brilliant way to tell the world -- or at least that small portion of it interested in you, your book collection, and the "Dexter Dancing" Rachel. I've already expressed my surprise and congratulations to you and here's a public encore. Happy Fatherhood! May your sleepless nights be few and days be filled with infant joy.

  5. Congratulations! Your life will never be the same but infinitely better.

  6. Little girls are very special and they love their daddies so much. Although my wife denies a causal relationship, my hair was not white before my daughters were born. Little girls are worth every gray hair and every line on your face. Congratulations and enjoy and love her always!

  7. Sincere congratulations, and now you will have a good reason dust off some Terrance Dicks in a few years...

  8. Congratulations, Nick!

    As I've been dealing with computer issues and haven't caught up on past-due EE posts I've been meaning to read, this is the first I've heard of the imminent arrival of The Sun Princess!;-) lol

    I have a feeling you're going to have a LOT less time for reading in the forseeable future!;-)

    All my best,

  9. Sorry to be a bit late to the party (just coming back from my own rather less well-motivated hiatus) but congratulation Nick and I hope you and yours are all doing well.

  10. Hey just noticed this post today. Quite busy myself these days with a similar excuse, but 7 months in. Anyways, congratulations! You really are going to be happy. It's the best.

    I'm guessing that you found this book, thought it would be the perfect post for such an occassion than started working on your wife, no? :)

    Best of luck with everything!