The Need (Paperback)
The Need had me on edge immediately. Molly's husband is out of town as she hides in the dark with her baby and child, listening to footsteps in the next room. Exhausted by the demands of two young children and her work as a paleo-botanist, Molly is also troubled by some strange artifacts discovered at the site where she's been working. Members of various religious groups have been vocal in condemning the discovery, and now it seems one of the crazies who swarm the site may have followed her home. This scenario is frightening enough, but as the story progresses, Phillips adds a twist which leads both the reader and Molly to question her relationship with reality.— Karen
July 2019 Indie Next List
“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, Manchester Center, VT
***LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION***
“An extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers” (Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Glass Hotel). The Need, which finds a mother of two young children grappling with the dualities of motherhood after confronting a masked intruder in her home, is “like nothing you’ve ever read before…in a good way” (People).
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. “Brilliant” (Entertainment Weekly), “grotesque and lovely” (The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice), and “wildly captivating” (O, The Oprah Magazine), The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives and “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.