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Cover of The Answers
Rated 3.63
187 ratings

The Answers

By: Catherine Lacey

Publisher: Macmillan Trade

Imprint: FSG

Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9780374100261

Other Formats:

Electronic | Audio
  • About the Book
  • Reviews
In Catherine Lacey's ambitious second novel we are introduced to Mary, a young woman living in New York City struggling with a body that has betrayed her. All but paralyzed with pain, Mary seeks relief from a New Age-y treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia, PAKing for short. And, remarkably, it works. But PAKing is expensive and Mary is broke. So she scours Craigslist for fast-cash jobs and finds the "Girlfriend Experiment," the brainchild of an eccentric and narcissistic actor determined to find the perfect relationship--even if it means paying women to fill different roles. Mary is hired as the "emotional girlfriend"--certainly better than the "anger girlfriend" or the "maternal girlfriend"--and is pulled into an ego-driven and messy attempt at human connection.Told in Lacey's signature spiraling prose, The Answers is full of singular yet universal insights. It is a gorgeous hybrid of the plot- and idea-driven novel that will leave you reeling.
Reading Lacey's fiction feels like walking through a dark apartment in someone's mind, full of winding hallways and unmarked doors. You never know quite where you are or where you'll end up.... “The Answers” is propelled by a surprisingly compelling puzzle of a plot involving the Girlfriend Experiment and the way it manipulates its subjects — but plot is just one of the novel's many pleasures.... In a book called “The Answers,” Catherine Lacey leaves us with a ravishing list of questions.
—Los Angeles Times
When an author's debut is a voice-driven first-person novel, there's an expectation, just or not, that her second novel will be wider in scope, more “ambitious.” In many ways, Lacey's new novel, “The Answers,” fits that bill. At the very least, it demonstrates that Lacey is capable of ventriloquizing well beyond the quirky-insightful voice of “Nobody is Ever Missing.”... With so many story lines, it's almost inevitable that not all are resolved by book's end.... Instead of seeming like a clever subversion of narrative expectations, this non-resolution resolution feels like a missed opportunity. Lacey is an extremely talented writer, but “The Answers” is a little less than the sum of its many excellent parts.
—Washington Post
“The Answers” is in part a sparkling satire of our era of big data, sending up the all-too-believable idea that, by optimizing human emotions, technology can be put to use “solving love.” But the novel is also a poignant spiritual lament, deepening the themes of Ms. Lacey's excellent debut, “Nobody Is Ever Missing” (2014), about a woman who flees her marriage for an aimless and increasingly desperate trip across New Zealand.... one of the most ingenious novels of 2017 but also one of the most moving.
—Wall Street Journal
Lacey's sentences are long and clean and unstanchable. They glow like the artist Dan Flavin's fluorescent light tubes. In her new novel, “The Answers,” she sweeps you up in the formidable current of her thought, and then she drops you down the rabbit hole. She's the real thing, and in “The Answers” she takes full command of her powers.... This is a novel of intellect and amplitude that deepens as it moves forward, until you feel prickling awe at how much mental territory unfolds.
—New York Times
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