- About the Book
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • Life is a lucrative business, as long as you play by the rules. Skimm Reads Pick • People Book of the Week • Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • “[Joanne] Ramos’s debut novel couldn’t be more relevant or timely.”—O: The Oprah Magazine Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else. Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child. Gripping, provocative, heartbreaking, The Farm pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.Praise for The Farm“So many factors—gender, race, religion, class—may determine where you come down on the surrogacy debate. . . . Ramos plays with many of these notions in her debut novel, The Farm, which imagines what might happen were surrogacy taken to its high-capitalist extreme. . . . The stage is set for lively book chat.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)“A thrilling read.”—New York “Grippingly realistic.”—Entertainment Weekly“Brilliant.”—New York Post“A provocative idea, and Ramos nails it . . . Crisp and believable, this smart debut links the poor and the 1 percent in a unique transaction that turns out to be mutually rewarding.”—People“Wow, Joanne Ramos has written the page-turner about immigrants chasing what’s left of the American dream. . . . Truly unforgettable.”—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story and Lake Success
The Farm may be an issue book, but it wears the mantle lightly. It's a breezy novel full of types (the Shark, the Dreamer, the Rebel, the Saint), and veers, not always successfully, from earnestness into satire. That shift in voice can obscure the novel's intent though to be fair, ambiguity may be the point.... The Farm isn't not a critique, but it's also not an indictment. Is commercial surrogacy profiteering or opportunity? Is it inherently racist? Does it honor or degrade women? The novel's too-neat ending won't provide satisfying answers. But the stage is set for lively book chat, perhaps over a gorgeous Armand de Brignac, the color of liquid gold or just a boxed chardonnay.
—New York Times
—New York Times
At the center of THE FARM --- which alternates among the perspectives of several characters but always returns to Jane --- are issues of race, class and privilege.... The plurality of voices that populate Ramos' novel will give book clubs much to consider and discuss. THE FARM would be a great companion to novels such as THE HANDMAID'S TALE, VOX, WOMEN TALKING and THE POWER. Chillingly, though, its premise is entirely plausible in today's world rather than part of some abstract near-future.
Ramos ably toggles between hardworking Philippine immigrants who can't seem to get a foothold on American prosperity and the monied elite who take advantage of the widening class divide. In lesser hands, Mae would read like a cartoon villain. But Ramos writes her with enough depth that the career woman reads as much a product of her environment as Jane.... The Farm is best when it focuses on the characters and trusts us to pick up on its deeper themes on our own. It's forgivable, though, that the book is so eager to make its point. Because what's so striking about The Farm isn't that it imagines a frightening dystopia. This isn't a hundred years in the future, it's next week. This is reality, nudged just a touch to its logical extreme. Its very plausibility is a warning shot.