Normal Women: A Novel (Paperback)

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Normal Women: A Novel By Ainslie Hogarth Cover Image
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(Fiction)

Staff Reviews


Chosen by: Heidi

I read this in two fevered days and nights of attempting to ignore my family, shirk work responsibilities, and stay up way too late. A profound, strange, hilarious, dark, gross, compelling page turner that considers the ways in which women labor. You’ll find yourself wondering whether you should finally schedule that family portrait you’ve been vaguely considering or just burn society to the ground. Five stars.

 

— From October 2023 Staff Picks

Chosen by: Heidi

I read this in two fevered days and nights of attempting to ignore my family, shirk work responsibilities, and stay up way too late. A profound, strange, hilarious, dark, gross, compelling page turner that considers the ways in which women labor. You’ll find yourself wondering whether you should finally schedule that family portrait you’ve been vaguely considering or just burn society to the ground. Five stars.

 

— From Staff Favorites of 2023

Description


In this darkly comic story about how we value female labor—and don’t—a new mother becomes embroiled in danger when her friend, a controversial entrepreneur, goes missing.

When her daughter Lotte was born, Dani had welcomed the chance to be a stay-at-home mother. To be good at something, for once. But now Dani can’t stop thinking about her seemingly healthy husband, Clark, dropping dead. Not because she hates him (not right now, anyway) but because it’s become abundantly clear to Dani that if he dies, she and Lotte will be left destitute.  

And then Dani discovers The Temple. Ostensibly a yoga center, The Temple and its guardian, Renata, are committed to helping people reach their full potential. And if that sometimes requires sex work, so be it. Finally, Dani has found something she could be good at, even great at; meaningful work that will protect her and Lotte from poverty, and provide true economic independence from Clark.

Just as Dani is preparing to embrace this opportunity, Renata disappears. And Dani discovers there might be something else she’s good at: uncovering secrets.

About the Author


Ainslie Hogarth is the author of three novels. She lives in Canada.

Praise For…


“Ainslie Hogarth is the master of first sentences, and the god of surprising verbs.”  
— Claire Oshetsky, author of Chouette
 
“An exhilarating ride of a novel that deliciously and irreverently skewers the complacent, the entitled and the self-satisfied.”
— Carole Hailey, author of The Silence Project

“Reveal[s] a powerful perspective on the unseen labor of care.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Hogarth has a talent for writing depth and invoking lavish mental pictures.”
Booklist


Praise for Ainslie Hogarth's Motherthing:

A New York Times Notable Book the Year • A Cosmopolitan Best Horror Book of All Time • A New York Times Editors’ Choice
 
“A quirky, gruesome, utterly original feminist horror experience.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Creepy, hysterical, emotionally complex.”
 —The New York Times, 7 Audiobooks to Listen to Now
 
“This haunting is deliberate, unsettling, and reads like the sensation you get after licking a battery—sharp and bitter but intriguing. Turn to it when you want something different, when you’re done with the traditional ghost story and need something unusual to sink your teeth into.”
 —The Big Thrill
 
“Okay, friends, now hold on to your butts. This is one of those books that I finished and then thought, “I love this—what the hell is wrong with me??!” This book is DISTURBING AF. But it’s also so freaking original and funny. . . . Like I said, this book is remarkably upsetting, but I also thought it was amazing. So much, that I just got Hogarth’s last book, The Boy Meets Girl Massacre.”
 —Liberty Hardy, Bookriot

“Filled with sharp, crackling sentences, which bend variously sinister, humorous and sad, Ainslie Hogarth's new novel is a stunner. Like Mona Awad's Bunny or Otessa Moshfegh's Eileen, Motherthing is a fabulous, frightening story built from fine, fine prose.”
—Laird Hunt, author of Zorrie

“This novel is bursting with smart, provocative, heart-breaking things to say about the nature of grief and its ability to take up just as much—if not more—physical space than the actual person lost. Motherthing is gory and irreverent and totally irresistible—I can’t wait to see what Hogarth spooks us with, next.”
—Courtney Maum, author of Touch and Costalegre

"A grim, disturbing novel of family drama and mental illness, yet a bizarrely funny glimpse into one woman’s mind. . . . Motherthing keeps readers as unstable as its narrator, struggling to manage the traumas and the waves of emotion. . . . The result of these roiling thoughts and images is a darkly comic, kaleidoscopic novel of unhealthy fixations, love, murder, the gifts and wounds that family can inflict and one woman’s fight to save herself."
CrimeReads

“Quirky, unexpected, and charming, Motherthing uses all the right ingredients combined in equal measure to ensure a delicious experience. Highly recommend.”
Mystery and Suspense Magazine

"As [Motherthing] ramps up, it quickens and amps up the grotesque. The end is spectacular. Sometimes books like this will crumble under the weight of themselves, but Hogarth never missteps. As spooky season gets underway, this was the perfect book to get into the spirit."
The Big Smoke

“A masterfully crafted horror novel that’s by turns humorous and deeply unsettling. . . . Abby makes a wonderful narrator; full of wry insights and frothy humor. . . . This dark domestic drama packs a punch.” 
 —Publishers Weekly, **starred review**

“Hogarth’s way with words enlivens every page of this psycho romp. . . . Her fearlessness and utter lack of inhibition animate the desperate longing and bitter trauma at the heart of this ghost story, administered with a steady drip of comic relief. Profane, insane, hilarious, disgusting—and unexpectedly moving.”
Kirkus Reviews **starred review**

“A darkly comic, kaleidoscopic novel of unhealthy fixations, love, murder, the gifts and wounds that family can inflict and one woman's fight to save herself.”
Shelf Awareness

“Fierce and unexpected, this darkly comedic horror is an exploration of how we haunt ourselves and how we allow others to haunt us, especially those closest to us. A crass narrator and an unraveling plot, coupled with subtext on sensitive and relatable topics, bring a dose of reality to what is otherwise a delightfully unhinged romp through domestic hell.”
 —Rue Morgue Magazine

“If you took Jane Fonda’s character from the 2005 film Monster-in-Law, made her an angry ghost, and mixed that with Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, you might get Hogarth’s new novel. . . . Fans of Jeff Strand, Grady Hendrix, and other dark-humor takes on horror will enjoy Motherthing.”
 —Booklist

"Deeply dark and often funny. . . . Motherthing can be a difficult book to read on an emotional level, given Abby’s frustratingly optimistic “I can fix him/it/this” attitude, but its scares and surprises are well worth the discomfort it causes—as well as the sleepless nights it will engender."
Bookpage


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593467046
ISBN-10: 0593467043
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English