The Need

Simon and Schuster

Narrated by Alexandra Allwine

6 hr 19 min

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD IN FICTION

* BEST OF 2019 SUMMER READING *
THE NEW YORK TIMES * VANITY FAIR * O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE * ELLE * VULTURE * NYLON * OPRAHMAG.COM * THRILLIST * BUSTLE * NEWSWEEK * STAR TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS) * MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL * LITHUB * BETTER HOMES & GARDENS

“A profound meditation on the nature of reality…An extraordinary and dazzlingly original work from one of our most gifted and interesting writers.” —Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

“Phillips is, as always, doing something at once wildly her own and utterly primal. Maybe it doesn't surprise me that the strangest book I've read about motherhood is also the best, but it does thrill me.” —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

“Spellbinding...both unsettling and irresistible. Phillips manifests the surreal, terrifying, and visceral experience of motherhood.” —Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others

“An existential page-turner that captures, with perfect sharpness, the fierce delirium of motherhood, the longing to understand the workings of our universe, and the wondrous and terrifying mystery that is time.” —Laura Van Den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

“An unforgettable tour de force that melds nonstop suspense, intriguing speculation, and perfectly crafted prose…this story showcases an extraordinary writer at her electrifying best.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Suspenseful and mysterious, insightful and tender, Phillips's new thriller cements her standing as a deservedly celebrated author with a singular sense of story and style… [A] superbly engaging read—quirky, perceptive, and gently provocative.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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. Helen Phillips has been anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, and The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jul 9, 2019
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Duration
6h 19m 55s
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ISBN
9781508279778
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Women
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Eligible for Family Library

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, “one of those special writers capable of delivering both poetry and plot” (The New York Times Book Review), a moving novel about tradition, tea farming, and the bonds between mothers and daughters.

In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.

The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.

As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.

A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.
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