Daily Bookmark: Helen Phillips’ “The Need” is a genre-bending thrill ride powered by maternal urgency

For a book about things that go bump in the night, “The Need” is absolutely teeming with twists to both plot and genre. The book’s speculative quality and its nonstop suspense elevate the latest novel from Brooklyn-based writer Helen Phillips from a typical thriller to a subversive, postmodern shocker, in what Vulture called, “a ménage á trois between an Italo Calvino novel, a mommy blog and Shirley Jackson’s ‘domestic memoirs.’”

When Molly hears unexpected footsteps while home alone with her two young children, she soon comes face-to-face with a masked intruder, and discovers in an instant just how far she’ll go to protect the people she loves the most. In her fight for survival, Molly must confront motherhood’s contradictions, from the ferocious love, to the mind-melting dread, to the utter tedium, to save her children and escape her past.

“The Need” is on sale from Simon & Schuster beginning July 9. It’s been named an Indie Next selection, an Apple Best of the Month selection and an Amazon Best of the Month selection. Phillips will hold book launch events Monday, July 8 at the Franklin Park Reading Series and Tuesday, July 9 at Greenlight Bookstore. 

Helen Phillips is the author of the short story collection “Some Possible Solutions,” and the 2015 novel “The Beautiful Bureaucrat,” which was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Tin House and Selected Shorts. She teaches at Brooklyn College, where she’s an associate professor of English. 

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