The Need
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The Need

3.15 (9,044 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

***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).
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 142 x 216 x 23mm | 408g
  • English
  • 1982113162
  • 9781982113162
  • 661,391

Review quote

PRAISE FOR THE BEAUTIFUL BUREAUCRAT BY HELEN PHILLIPS "A tightrope walk over the abyss, where the stakes are total, and the prose is exuberant and taut, dire and playful."--KAREN RUSSELL "Are we pawns in the thrall of bureaucratic (Kafka) or totalitarian (Orwell) systems? Or are we, in fact, the ones with ultimate power; the arbiters -- even unknowingly -- of life and death? Helen Phillips deftly interrogates this existential divide in her riveting, drolly surreal debut novel, The Beautiful Bureaucrat." --THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW "Told with the light touch of a Calvino and the warm heart of a Saramago, this brief fable-novel is funny, sad, scary, and beautiful. I love it."--URSULA K. LE GUIN "Helen Phillips' The Beautiful Bureaucrat has the compulsive quality of a mystery and the furious urgency of a fever dream. I picked it up and read it everywhere: on the subway, over breakfast, in bed when I should have been sleeping, at work when I should have been working. It will coax you into its world with the crystalline precision of its prose, so full of heart and strangeness it might even crawl into your own dreams and find you there."--LESLIE JAMISON "The Beautiful Bureaucrat is a thrillingly original debut, formally inventive and emotionally complex. Helen Phillips is one of the most exciting young writers working today, and I envy those who get to discover her work here for the first time."--JENNY OFFILL "Equal parts mystery, thriller, and existential inquiry, Phillips's book evokes the menace of the mundane."--THE NEW REPUBLIC "The Beautiful Bureaucrat reads like Borges in Brooklyn, with its cerebral pleasures buttressed by Helen Phillips' precise, resonant depictions of love, marriage, sex, and terrible apartments. It bends from uncanny to unsettling and ends at very deeply satisfying."--ROBIN SLOAN "A satisfying parable of love and life, death and birth, and the travails of transposed numbers. The Beautiful Bureaucrat reads like a thriller."--JOSHUA FERRIS "Helen Phillips is a funny, subversive, enigmatic, melancholy wonder. With And Yet They Were Happy she produced one of my favorite recent story collections and now, with The Beautiful Bureaucrat, she has written one of my favorite recent novels, equal parts Franz Kafka and Lydia Davis, a narrative in which the perplexities of work and marriage gradually change their colors to display the perplexities of birth and death. When these pages reached my hands, my first thought was this: Helen Phillips is publishing another book, which means that I can, briefly, revel in it until I start looking for her next."--KEVIN BROCKMEIER "In the bleak hallways of bureaucracy, Helen Phillips explores what it means to make a life one's own. The Beautiful Bureaucrat is a page-turning mystery, a love story and a revelation."--RAMONA AUSUBEL
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Rating details

9,044 ratings
3.15 out of 5 stars
5 11% (1,005)
4 28% (2,496)
3 35% (3,143)
2 19% (1,734)
1 7% (666)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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