Labours of Love | Madeleine Bunting | Granta

  • Published: 01/10/2020
  • ISBN: 9781783783793
  • Granta Books
  • 336 pages

Labours of Love

Madeleine Bunting

We’re facing a crisis in care likely to affect every one of us over the course of our lives. Care-work is underpaid; its values disregarded. Britain’s society lauds economic growth, productivity and profit over compassion, kindness and empathy. For centuries the caring labours of women have been taken for granted, but with more women now in work, with increasing numbers of elderly and with austerity dismantling the welfare state, care is under pressure as never before.

Over five years, Madeleine Bunting travelled the country, speaking to charity workers, doctors, social workers, in-home carers, nurses, palliative care teams and parents, to explore the value of care, the hidden glue that binds us together. She finds remarkable stories, in GP surgeries, in work undertaken by parents for their disabled children and in end-of-life teams, that conjure a different way of imagining our society and the connections between us. Blending these revelatory testimonies with a history and language of care, and with Bunting’s own experiences of caring for the young and old in her family, Labours of Love is a hugely important portrait of our nation today – and of how it might be – which raises a clarion call for change.

Labours of Love is a fine achievement. It is full of humanity. I found it utterly absorbing and, unpopular though the word is, humbling


[Labours of Love] should be compulsory reading for every MP, every manager in the NHS and the care "industry". It is so well written that it is a pleasure to read so it won't be an arduous task for them. Well researched, timely and sees humans as humans not numbers and it's time we all reverted to doing that...Informative, moving and essential, thank you Madeleine Bunting

Philippa Perry

An urgent, searching and vital overview of the landscape of care, published as societies everywhere are waking up to the true value of caring work. Madeleine Bunting has spent five years talking with parents and therapists, doctors and nurses, sons and daughters. The perspectives she gathers are sometimes angry, often tender, always illuminating

Gavin Francis

The Author

Madeleine Bunting was for many years a columnist for the Guardian, which she joined in 1990. Bunting read History at Cambridge and Politics at Harvard. She is the author of many non-fiction books, including The Plot: A Biography of My Father’s English Acre, which won the Portico Prize, and Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey, which was shortlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize and the Saltire Non-Fiction Book of the Year. She has also written a novel, Island Song. She lives in London.

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