The Answers

The Answers

Book - 2017
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In Catherine Lacey's ambitious second novel we are introduced to Mary, a young woman living in New York City and struggling to cope with a body that has betrayed her. All but paralyzed with pain, Mary seeks relief from a New Agey treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia, PAKing for short. And, remarkably, it works. But PAKing is prohibitively expensive and Mary is dead broke. So she scours Craigslist for fast-cash jobs and finds herself applying for the "Girlfriend Experiment," the brainchild of an eccentric and narcissistic actor, Kurt Sky, who is determined to find the perfect relationship-even if that means paying different women to fulfill distinctive roles. Mary is hired as the "Emotional Girlfriend"-certainly better than the "Anger Girlfriend" or the "Maternal Girlfriend"-and is pulled into Kurt's ego-driven and messy attempt at human connection. Told in her signature spiraling prose, The Answers is full of the singular yet universal insights readers have come to expect from Lacey. It is a gorgeous hybrid of the plot- and the idea-driven novel that will leave you reeling.
Publisher: New York :, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9780374100261
Characteristics: 294 pages


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Nov 14, 2018

Interesting premise. Inventive. Had the potential of really being well done - well written. But, alas, this author hasn't quite arrived at that level of skill. Too many loose ends that are never properly resolved (in my mind anyway).

Jan 03, 2018

I understand cerebral, I understand provocative. I also understand too much plot that turns into an unpalatable stew of bizarre characters who appear and disappear, unexplained motivations, a protagonist who is only tangentially involved in her own life. Just no. Too many ingredients. Whatever appeal and flavor they held on their own is lost. As was whatever grand theme about life, love and personhood some would like to say this was about.

Jan 02, 2018

Really liked this tale. There are three plots that interact with each other in interesting ways, and a surprise ending. One of those 'can't put the book down' reads. What more do you want?

Aug 04, 2017

An interesting study on the concepts of love, and if it's possible for one person to meet all our needs, or if we need different things from different people. The story is (mostly) framed from the point of view of Mary, whose childhood isolation has lead her to have difficulty connecting with people, though we also get inside the minds of other characters as well. I feel like there were certain threads of the story that remained unresolved, but I think this was done on purpose by the author - a parallel to how sometimes our relationships and friendships may also end unresolved.

Jul 18, 2017

Quite an interesting concept "The Girlfriend Experience". Each participant wears sensors to record information during a role as Emotional Girlfriend, Intellectual Girlfriend, etc. This takes place in the inner sanctum of a well known movie star. It is with him the participants play their role in the experiment. The main character is looking to understand herself which blends an interesting mix. She (Mary) has come from a disturbing background and is a bit of a recluse with numerous maladies that she seeks to have treated by Ed, an over-the-top PAKing practitioner. I found the Internal Directives of the experiment interesting....."intent is to create a treatment that can allow people to feel what they feel and not those feelings that are unhelpful to them". Lacey is particularly clever and imaginative!

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