“I firmly believe I will be hard-pressed to pick up a book in 2019 I love more than The Need, a genre-bending novel that explores motherhood and identity. Molly is the most authentic character I’ve had the pleasure of reading in quite some time, accompanied by baby Ben and lively Viv, the most fully realized fictional four-year-old ever. Is The Need a fever dream, a psychological thriller, a cosmic twist of fate unveiling a parallel world? The author leaves her readers to wonder while highlighting the dualities of domestic life. In gorgeous prose, Phillips shows how the mundane is often revealed to be just that, but sometimes that mundanity is sacred. A deeply immersive human story.”Hanna Yost, Northshire Bookstore
* 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.
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