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The Answers
by Catherine Lacey


Overview -

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

Recommended reading by Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, W, Nylon, Elle, Buzzfeed, and Kirkus

"Like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale , The Answers ] is also a novel about a subjugated woman, in this case not to a totalitarian theocracy but to subtler forces its heroine is only beginning to understand and fears she is complicit with." --Dwight Garner, New York Times

Mary Parsons is broke.  Read more...


 
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More About The Answers by Catherine Lacey
 
 
 
Overview

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

Recommended reading by Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, W, Nylon, Elle, Buzzfeed, and Kirkus

"Like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, The Answers] is also a novel about a subjugated woman, in this case not to a totalitarian theocracy but to subtler forces its heroine is only beginning to understand and fears she is complicit with." --Dwight Garner, New York Times

Mary Parsons is broke. Dead broke, really: between an onslaught of medical bills and a mountain of credit card debt, she has been pushed to the brink. Hounded by bill collectors and still plagued by the painful and bizarre symptoms that doctors couldn't diagnose, Mary seeks relief from a holistic treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia--PAKing, for short. Miraculously, it works. But PAKing is prohibitively expensive. Like so many young adults trying to make ends meet in New York City, Mary scours Craigslist and bulletin boards for a second job, and eventually lands an interview for a high-paying gig that's even stranger than her symptoms or the New Agey PAKing.

Mary's new job title is Emotional Girlfriend in the "Girlfriend Experiment"--the brainchild of a wealthy and infamous actor, Kurt Sky, who has hired a team of biotech researchers to solve the problem of how to build and maintain the perfect romantic relationship, cast - ing himself as the experiment's only constant. Around Kurt, several women orbit as his girlfriends with spe - cific functions. There's a Maternal Girlfriend who folds his laundry, an Anger Girlfriend who fights with him, a Mundanity Girlfriend who just hangs around his loft, and a whole team of girlfriends to take care of Intimacy. With so little to lose, Mary falls headfirst into Kurt's messy, ego-driven simulacrum of human connection.

Told in Catherine Lacey's signature spiraling, hypnotic prose, The Answers is both a mesmerizing dive into the depths of one woman's psyche and a critical look at the conventions and institutions that infiltrate our most personal, private moments. As Mary struggles to understand herself--her body, her city, the trials of her past, the uncertainty of her future--the reader must confront the impossible questions that fuel Catherine Lacey's work: How do you measure love? Can you truly know someone else? Do we even know ourselves? And listen for Lacey's uncanny answers.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374100261
  • ISBN-10: 0374100268
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: June 2017
  • Page Count: 304
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Psychological

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-12-12
  • Reviewer: Staff

In Laceys (Nobody Is Ever Missing) remarkable novel, Mary has spent a year suffering undiagnosable illnesses when she finds a strange treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia, which immediately helps. The problem is Marys broke, so she answers a high-paying Craigslist ad and soon ends up participating in überfamous actor Kurt Skys so-called Girlfriend Experiment. The goal of the experiment is to find out whether a perfect relationship can be achieved if each of many girlfriends serves a single role for Kurt. As the Emotional Girlfriend, Mary is to listen to Kurt talk while remaining fully engaged by asking questions, to send texts to him, and to eventually cry in front of him. She is told sexual intimacy will not be expected of the Emotional Girlfriend since Kurt has the Intimacy Team for that purpose. While Kurt becomes more and more intrigued by the totally unpretentious Mary in his attempt to find out How to best love?, the truth of the experiment comes to light. The novel examines the unreliability of our own bodies and emotions (at one point, the experiments sensors mistakenly register Marys feeling of obligation as a feeling of love), as well as our detachment from othersthat dark gap between what someone does and what someone actually means to do. Mary is trying to trust her body through Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia, while Kurts Anger Girlfriend, Ashley, one of the best characters in the novel, only trusts her anger: her hate is gleeful and all-consuming and an unlikely companion through her days. Lacey displays an exceptional ability to articulate the elusiveness of knowing others, as well as the desire to find meaning and trust within. Agent: Jin Auh, Wylie Agency. (June)

 
BAM Customer Reviews