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The Need
Cover of The Need
The Need
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* BEST OF 2019 SUMMER READING * THE NEW YORK TIMES * VANITY FAIR * O, THE OPRAH MAGAINZE * ELLE * VULTURE * NYLON * OPRAHMAG.COM * THRILLIST * BUSTLE * NEWSWEEK * STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS) * MILWAUKEE...
* BEST OF 2019 SUMMER READING * THE NEW YORK TIMES * VANITY FAIR * O, THE OPRAH MAGAINZE * ELLE * VULTURE * NYLON * OPRAHMAG.COM * THRILLIST * BUSTLE * NEWSWEEK * STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS) * MILWAUKEE...
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  • * BEST OF 2019 SUMMER READING *
    THE NEW YORK TIMES * VANITY FAIR * O, THE OPRAH MAGAINZE * ELLE * VULTURE * NYLON * OPRAHMAG.COM * THRILLIST * BUSTLE * NEWSWEEK * STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS) * MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL * LITHUB * BETTER HOMES & GARDENS

    "A profound meditation on the nature of reality...An extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers." —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

    "Phillips is, as always, doing something at once wildly her own and utterly primal. Maybe it doesn't surprise me that the strangest book I've read about motherhood is also the best, but it does thrill me." —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

    "Spellbinding...both unsettling and irresistible. Phillips manifests the surreal, terrifying, and visceral experience of motherhood." —Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others

    "An existential page-turner that captures, with perfect sharpness, the fierce delirium of motherhood, the longing to understand the workings of our universe, and the wondrous and terrifying mystery that is time." —Laura Van Den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

    "An unforgettable tour de force that melds nonstop suspense, intriguing speculation, and perfectly crafted prose...this story showcases an extraordinary writer at her electrifying best." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "Suspenseful and mysterious, insightful and tender, Phillips's new thriller cements her standing as a deservedly celebrated author with a singular sense of story and style... [A] superbly engaging read—quirky, perceptive, and gently provocative." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
    When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it's the sleep deprivation. She's been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It's what mothers do, she knows.

    But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

    Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

    In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Helen Phillips has been anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, and The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

About the Author-

  • Helen Phillips is the author of, most recently, the novel The Need. Her collection Some Possible Solutions received the 2017 John Gardner Fiction Book Award. Her novel The Beautiful Bureaucrat, a New York Times Notable Book of 2015, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the NYPL Young Lions Award. Her collection And Yet They Were Happy was named a notable collection by The Story Prize. She is also the author of the middle-grade novel Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green. Helen has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and the Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction, and her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Tin House, and on Selected Shorts. She is an associate professor at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, artist Adam Douglas Thompson, and their children. Visit HelenCPhillips.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 3, 2019
    Phillips (The Beautiful Bureaucrat) delivers an unforgettable tour de force that melds nonstop suspense, intriguing speculation, and perfectly crafted prose. While excavating a fossil quarry, paleobotanist Molly Nye and her colleagues find plant fossils unconnected to all previously identified species and random objects—a Bible describing God as “she,” a toy soldier with a monkey’s tail, a Coke bottle with a backwards-tilting logo—with odd, seemingly pointless differences from their everyday counterparts. She feels uneasy when news of the Bible draws gawkers to the site, but anxiety is no stranger to Molly; balancing work with her nursing baby and feisty four-year-old, she struggles with “apocalyptic exhaustion” and a constant fear that disaster is about to strike her kids. While her musician husband, David, is performing abroad, real danger arrives in the form of a black-clad intruder, who wears the gold deer mask David gave Molly for her birthday and knows intimate details of Molly’s life. As the stranger’s mask comes literally and figuratively off en route to a startling conclusion to their confrontation, Molly veers between panic, appeasement, and empathy for an “other” whose story is uncannily like her own except in its tragedies. Structured in brief, sharply focused segments that shift back and forth in time, the novel interrogates the nature of the self, the powers and terrors of parenting, and the illusions of chronology. Yet it’s also chock-full of small moments—some scary, some tender, some darkly witty—that ground its cerebral themes in a sharply observed evocation of motherhood. With its crossover appeal to lovers of thriller, science fiction, and literary fiction, this story showcases an extraordinary writer at her electrifying best. Agent: Faye Bender, the Book Group.

  • AudioFile Magazine Listeners immediately know something is wrong as Alexandra Allwine's urgent tone opens this tense and eerie novel. There's an intruder in Molly's house, and as she crouches in the dark, clutching her two small children, her confusion from sleep deprivation spirals into primal fear. The audiobook jumps between Molly's eventual confrontation with the intruder and her time as a paleobotanist, when she spends her days digging up plant fossils from "the pit" --from which strange objects start emerging. Allwine's voice has a smoky guise that suggests the hazy days Molly so often experiences after sleepless nights. Soon, the secrets of this literary thriller start to unravel, and the dark realities of motherhood rise to the surface. R.K.H. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine

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