Talking Scared

27 - Julia Fine and the Postmodern Postpartum

February 24, 2021 Neil McRobert Episode 27
Talking Scared
27 - Julia Fine and the Postmodern Postpartum
Show Notes

If you’ve been homeschooling, in labour, or generally responsible for the life of a small human during lockdown, then this episode is for you. There are people out there, writers with great skill and empathy, who share your pain, and know how you feel.

This week’s guest is Julia Fine, the author of Bram Stoker Award Nominated What Should Be Wild, and now the postpartum nightmare, The Upstairs House.

Julia’s novel is about new motherhood, societal expectation, the horror of lost self, and ghosts. Really weird ghosts, of literary figures who demand she write their story, or else they may take her child.

During our conversation we cover a whole host of things, from the lack of literary representation for postpartum sufferers, to the haunting legacy of famous children’s authors … oh, and I also inadvertently compare Julia’s child to my puppy – and I await the rage of any listeners with a new baby. 

But yeah, this is a good book that raises a lot of questions, and a good chat that answers some of them really well.


The Upstairs House is published on February 23rd by Harper.

Other books discussed in this episode include:

  • The Bloody Chamber (1979), by Angela Carter
  • The Yellow Wallpaper (1892), by Charlotte Perkings Gilman
  • House of Leaves (2000), by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Fever Dream (2014), by Samantha Schweblin

Come talk books on Twitter @talkscaredpod, on Instagram, or email direct to

Thanks to Adrian Flounders for graphic design.

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