It’s a commonplace (at least with me) to say that sometimes the best way to describe reality is to distort, enhance, or otherwise defamiliarize it through fantasy and speculation. Helen Phillips seems to agree with me, at least to judge by her intense, somewhat surrealistic fiction. The Need, a thriller about the anxieties of parenthood with more useful things to say on the subject than Dr. Spock, has all the claustrophobia and existential dread of Kafka, but considerably more heart.
–James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA
Helen Phillips’s The Need is out [now]. It’s a book filled with motherhood and existential dread, and yes, moms in the audience will know exactly how large that Venn Diagram overlap is. In the beginning, Molly is a paleobotanist who is finding weird stuff in a dig site behind an abandoned gas station. Later, she’s at home with her kids when someone wearing a deer mask emerges from her coffee table.
Right? It gets weirder from there (or saner, depending on your proximity to that aforementioned Venn Diagram overlap). Phillips’s deft command of language and pacing make this a book that’ll stick to your hand until you finish it.
–A Good Book, Sumner, WA