The Birthgrave is a challenging work; if it were published today, it would definitely be considered dark fantasy. However, it is also thought-provoking and poses some hard-to-answer questions about the topics of collective guilt and innocence – just how responsible are we for the sins of those who are like us?
For its time of publication, in the mid ’70s, it was also rather subversive. You see, at its heart, The Birthgrave is a journey of self-discovery, and it has the singular conceit that a woman’s experience is valid and worth considering. Even in today’s SFF, that can be regrettably-rare.
For purposes of trigger warnings, etc., I’m filing this review under “choose not to warn”. Frankly, given the state of the world of The Birthgrave, TWs are probably redundant. I’m also going to change the usual review structure and have a singular “commentary” section, as the “liked/problematic” contrast doesn’t really work in this context. Be aware that the needle will be over on the “problematic” side of the dial a lot during this review.
So, without further digression, here’s the review…