Molly is exhausted, anxious, losing her grip on reality. Her husband is away and she is running between her children and her job, where things are unravelling. She's a paleobotanist, working at a fossil quarry, and has recently unearthed artefacts that defy understanding; the coke bottle with the lettering that leans the wrong way, an alternative version of the Bible. Where do these things come from?
At home, as dusk falls, she gets jumpy. Are those footsteps out in the hall? What was that noise? She holds her two small children close to her, and tries to pull herself together. But her worlds of work and home are about to collide. She discovers that the stranger in her sitting room knows everything about her life and, as their identity becomes chillingly clear, this intruder makes a demand of Molly that upends everything, forcing her to reckon with her most unspeakable fears.
The Need is a gripping, unsettling and stunningly original story that probes deep truths about motherhood, and explores grief, loss and how we treat others. It's a compulsive, reality-warping novel that makes us rethink our world, and question how far we would go to protect the ones we love.
Helen Phillips is the author of four books, most recently the collection Some Possible Solutions, which 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. 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 assistant professor at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, artist Adam Douglas Thompson, and their children.
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