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PRINT December 2019

books

Mac Wellman

I would like to briefly mention a new and splendid novel by Helen Phillips, someone whose writing I first encountered when she was a student at Brooklyn College some years ago. Her newest work of fiction, The Need (Simon & Schuster), has recently been published, and it is, in my opinion, quite a strange and wonderful book. Strangely wonderful, I should say!

The story concerns the family of a young woman named Molly and her two children, the toddler Viv and the infant Ben. Phillips describes in a graphic yet unpredictable way the joys and difficulties of being a young mother: breastfeeding, changing diapers, and all the other tiring but exciting duties and demands. Molly’s husband David is away on a trip, so he cannot be of much help—especially when peculiar things begin to occur.

First, Molly thinks she spots a mysterious stranger. Then a truly bizarre appearance confuses and disturbs

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