The Need is a breathtakingly beautiful, terrifying work of brilliance. Phillips melds thriller with speculative fiction seamlessly and with care, creating a story that examines motherhood as if it were an egg: deftly cracking it open and observing the contents, just before turning up the heat. Recommended By Haley B., Powells.com
Maybe it is due to a lack of sleep or perhaps it's the creep of parental anxiety, but Molly sometimes worries she is losing her mind. She has these moments, increasingly frequent and always disorienting, where everything feels slightly off — it is undeniable, but unprovable. It feels like a climax to the weirdness when a masked intruder breaks into her home and hands her a note, but it is only the beginning of a reality-defying ordeal. Like J. Robert Lennon, Helen Phillips understands the dread of the subtly askew, the sinister possibilities of irregularity. A horror story born of the wondrous terror of motherhood, The Need shifts and shimmers like a mirage. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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
“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
“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)
“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)
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.
Helen Phillips on PowellsBooks.Blog
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