Reviews

  • "The atmosphere is as close and taut as a thriller, but this is, in fact, both a highly original examination of grief and an extraordinarily vivid evocation of motherhood -- the moments of terror and hilarity, the visceral burden of it, and the fleeting, but almost transcendent, joy"

    Daily Mail
  • "A chilling novel from a blazing talent...in addition to being a cerebral meditation on motherhood at its most elemental – fierce, beatific, sanity-thieving – it’s an adroitly executed thriller with a quasi-sci-fi twist. Mercilessly tense throughout, its opening chapter is a belter... A bracingly singular achievement, it’s surreal, blackly comic and ultimately generous."

    Observer
  • "[A] frenzied fever dream of a novel. Read it as a sci-fi thriller, or understand it instead as metaphorical; either way, it’s a page-turner… magnificent... This is a smart, sharp book that cuts to the heart of what it’s like to be a mother"

    Financial Times
  • "

    Helen Phillips’s novel begins to reveal itself, veering away from what looks initially like conventional suspense into something more speculative and philosophical with nods to both sci-fi and horror...
    the what-ifs animate this novel, the narrative splitting and looping back on itself as it tries out parallel possibilities, various fantasies and nightmares... frightening and maddening and full of dark comedy.. Phillips, as careful with language as she is bold with structure, captures many small sharp truths

    "

    New York Times
  • "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
  • "Phillips writes exceptionally well of the insatiable demands two young children can make on a mother... yet this is also a horror story about the vulnerability of motherhood that doubles up as a love letter to the miracle existence of children. At the same time, Phillips consistently plays tricks with the reader's perspective...and with the possibility of parallel realities, rooted in a mother's worst possible fears, playing out at the level of science fiction... One of the most heart-stopping motherhood novels you'll read all year"

    Metro
  • "So smart and brave about motherhood... Molly's struggle to remain her full self while giving so much away is electrifying... Mothers will recognize so much in this fresh novel -- but they aren't the only ones who should read it. Phillips has found a way to make these experiences universal"

    Washington Post
  • "An enthralling book. With its short chapters, unsettling prose and riveting suspense, it feels designed for binge-reading. But keep an eye on the clock. Immersion in this novel before bedtime is a recipefor sleeplessness."

    Economist
  • "An exciting, enjoyably eccentric novel that more than delivers as both a reality-warping thriller and a searching meditation on motherhood"

    Mail on Sunday
  • "The weirdness of everyday life is beautifully explored… The Need's true subject is motherhood, rendered here as a painful, visceral, almost impossibly tender undertaking. In contrast to this extreme normality, the supernatural elements tingle like bugs against the skin. In all, a grand achievement. The novel exists on that narrow borderlinewhere strangeness merges with the mundane, and Phillips is both an explorer, and a brilliant chronicler of this murky realm."

    Spectator