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The Need

'The Need is a profound meditation on the nature of reality, a fearless examination of parenthood, and also somehow a thriller. This is an extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers' Emily St. John Mandel

She crouched in front of the mirror in the dark, clinging to them. The baby in her right arm, the child in her left.
There were footsteps in the other room…

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,

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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 alternate 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 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

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