The forbidden territory of a terrifying woman A novel

Molly Lynch

Book - 2023

When his wife, Ada, vanishes from their bed one night, with their son, Gilles, in the next room, Danny discovers mothers around the world are vanishing from their homes and wonders if the mystery is linked to the forest she seemed magnetically drawn to.

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Detective and mystery fiction
Psychological fiction
Suspense fiction
New York : Catapult 2023.
Main Author
Molly Lynch (author)
First Catapult edition
Physical Description
275 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

One by one, young women all over the world are leaving their families, walking away from their husbands and children and just-- poof!--disappearing into the woods, the streets, the ether. From her home outside Detroit, Ada takes note of these women, follows the news stories and registers their similarities in age, height, and lifestyles. They're just like me, she thinks. They must worry about the environmental destruction threatening our children and distrust the government's intent or ability to rescue the planet. And then one night, Ada, too, is gone, taken as she sleeps between her husband and son. The family is frantic. The authorities are summoned. After time, officials determine a pattern to these disappearances. Is Ada part of a movement? Could women purposefully be leaving their families to make a statement to society writ large? Weeks go by, then Ada reappears as suddenly as she vanished, disheveled and dirty, famished and feral, but with no memory of her experience, a chasm too vast for her marriage to navigate. Lynch's magical debut constructs a dreamlike dystopia populated by women at odds with both Mother Nature and their own interior senses, wary of the easy ways society can erase them.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Mothers disappear from their homes across the world in Lynch's spectacular debut. Writing professor Ada Berger, 39, lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., with her husband, Danny, and six-year-old son, Gilles. Ada's most comfortable in remote, unspoiled places and is in a perpetual state of fear that climate change will destroy the Earth and her small family. Her unease deepens when a local woman mysteriously disappears. As more mothers around the country vanish, Ada feels uncontrollably drawn to the small forest behind Gilles's school, and when she finally enters a "space like a door, an entryway" in the woods, she loses track of time and senses herself merging with nature. Then Danny wakes up one morning to find that Ada is gone. Efua Asemota, who works with a federal task force, tells him the group is investigating 44 American women, all mothers, who seem to have walked voluntarily out of their lives and disappeared. Though a grimy Ada returns two weeks later, she can't remember her time away, and she tumbles down a rabbit hole trying to figure out what happened. Writing in tight, precise prose, Lynch weaves environmental disaster, feminist theory, and classical myth into a mesmerizing tale. Lovers of Margaret Atwood and Lauren Groff will be among the many enthralled. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Mothers the world over start vanishing without a trace. Creative writing professor Ada Berger, 39, lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, history professor Danny, and the couple's 6-year-old son, Gilles. Canadian-born Ada has never felt at home in the U.S., where "the general order is pure chaos," and ever since she had Gilles, she's been unable to envision the future, which makes it hard "to be here, on the earth, in any form." Not only is Ada surrounded by stories about social and ecological collapse--on NPR, in conversations with her friends--but two local mothers have recently disappeared from their houses in broad daylight, with no sign of foul play. Though Ada can't put the missing women out of her head, Danny doesn't take much notice--until he and Gilles wake up one morning to find Ada gone. The doors are all locked, and Ada's phone, keys, and wallet are still in the kitchen. Danny calls the police, who arrive with a federal agent in tow; it seems the mysterious disappearances aren't confined to the Rust Belt--or even the United States. Using a candid close-third-person narration that shifts between Ada and Danny, debut author Lynch offers a nuanced contemplation of marriage, motherhood, and the anxieties of modern life. While efforts to explain the missing-mother phenomenon feel convoluted and undercut the tale's otherworldly appeal, Lynch writes evocatively and insightfully about the divine feminine, nature's gravitational pull, and her characters' struggles with alienation and fear. At once visceral and ephemeral but lacking in catharsis. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.