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list price: $24.95
category: Fiction
published: Jan 2021
imprint: Viking

The Push

by Ashley Audrain

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psychological, literary, contemporary women
0 of 5
0 ratings
list price: $24.95
category: Fiction
published: Jan 2021
imprint: Viking

“Written with an unflinching eye and a stylistically sharp, tight economy The Push is a single-sitting read, as suspenseful as any thriller, as thoughtful as any literary novel, with an almost physical force behind each of its turns and revelations.”—Toronto Star

A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, told through the eyes of a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for--and everything she feared.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, supportive mother she never had to her new baby Violet.

But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe doesn't find the connection with her daughter she expected. She's convinced that something is wrong with Violet--the little girl is distant, rejects affection, and becomes increasingly disruptive at preschool.

Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she is imagining things. Fox doesn't see what Blythe sees; he sees a wife who is struggling to cope with the day-to-day challenges of being a mother. And the more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity...

Then their son Sam is born--and with him, Blythe has the natural maternal connection she'd always dreamed of. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth about herself, her past, and her daughter.

The Push is a rare and extraordinary gift to readers: a novel about the expectations of motherhood we're taught not to challenge and what really happens behind the closed doors of even the most perfect-looking families. It's impossible to put down and impossible to forget.

Contributor Notes

ASHLEY AUDRAIN previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Push is her first novel.

Editorial Review

One of:
CBC’s “Five Canadian books we can’t wait to read in 2021”
Marie Claire's “2021 Book Releases to Pre-Order and Thank Yourself Later”
Praise for The Push:

“[A] taut, tense thriller . . . [and] chilling debut.”
The New York Times
“[A] stunning, compelling read. . . . Written with an unflinching eye and a stylistically sharp, tight economy The Push is a single-sitting read, as suspenseful as any thriller, as thoughtful as any literary novel, with an almost physical force behind each of its turns and revelations. By the end, the reader will feel wrung out in the way only the best of books leaves you. Audrain’s debut is a stunning, devastating novel and, frankly, one hell of a way to start a year of reading.”
Toronto Star

“Audrain cleverly examines and exploits women’s near-universal anxiety that they won’t measure up to some internalized standard of maternal perfection dictated by society. . . But what makes it stand out from the rest is Audrain’s nuanced understanding of how women’s voices are discounted, how a thousand little slights can curdle a solid marriage and—in defiance of maternal taboos—how mothers really feel, sometimes, toward difficult children. . . . The Push [is] more than a novel of suspense, the sum of its parts speaking to the burdens we all carry, whether we are mothers or simply children of women who did the best they could, however far their best efforts may have fallen short.”
Los Angeles Times
“Starkly original and compulsively readable, Ashley Audrain's The Push is a deep dive into the darkest nooks and crannies of motherhood. Raw, visceral, and often disturbing, this is an intense psychological drama that will be embraced by serious book clubs and fans of Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk about Kevin.”
—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author
The Push was a poetic, propulsive read that set my nerves jangling in both horror and recognition. I read it in one sitting and it stayed with me for days afterwards. Not to be missed.”
—Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone
“With its riveting prose and deep convictions, Ashley Audrain’s The Push had me in its clutches from the first page. Audrain’s astute portrayal of motherhood was unsettling in its insights, yet highly entertaining on the page. Complex, nuanced, and unflinching, I inhaled this debut in one sitting.” 
—Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife
“Intensely absorbing, gripping until the final page, The Push excavates the myths of motherhood, deftly exploring the shape-shifting landscape of parenting, the powerful impact of the past on the present, and the deep unease of our inability to ever fully know even those we hold the closest.”
—Kim Edwards, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
“The Push is written on the edge of a knife. It’s a howl in the face of what we think we know—or want to believe—about motherhood. Relentlessly compelling, distressing and beautiful, Ashley Audrain’s debut is the next Gone Girl, with shades of We Need to Talk About Kevin. I devoured it whole.”
—Marissa Stapley, bestselling author of The Last Resort

“Stayed up too late finishing [Audrain’s] deeply unsettling The Push about the darkest reaches of motherhood (and profound maternal ambivalence). Visceral, provocative, compulsive, and with the most graphic and relatable description of childbirth I've read (or written).”
—Sarah Vaughan, bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal
Ashley Audrain's The Push is not only a propulsively entertaining, read-in-one-sitting novel, it is also a deeply provocative and fearless look at motherhood written in some of the prettiest prose you’ll read all year.”
Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

“Written with a courage that borders on audacity, and with uncanny emotional and psychological precision, Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a taut, tour-de-force literary thriller that draws you in from the very first pages and plunges you into the most harrowing of journeys: parenthood.”
Bill Clegg, New York Times bestselling author of Did You Ever Have A Family?

“A tense and unsettling thriller that's immersive, chilling, and provocative. A book that’s best read in one sitting.”
—Iain Reid, author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things
“A meteoric debut. Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a force of nature, an unforgettable arrival that will linger in your heart—shimmer, darken and then haunt you. Every sentence is just so achingly alive. Audrain descends with near pointillistic precision into the gore of motherhood and love. Perhaps if Stephen King had experienced motherhood—the singular exaltation and morbid terror of that state—he might have been able to dream up this book. Wise, monstrous, and tender, The Push operates at a different frequency. It seemed to pulse in my hands. I could not put it down. I could not look away.”
—Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker and Stunt

“Compelling, beautifully written and wickedly entertaining. . . . A tremendously thought-provoking read.”
—Liz Nugent, author of Little Cruelties and Lying in Wait

“Utterly mesmerising. Ashley Audrain's powerful debut novel explores the challenges of motherhood and the terrifying isolation of being trapped within a sinister truth that no one else believes.”
—Fiona Valpy, #1 bestselling digital author of The Dressmaker’s Gift

“A chilling and beautifully written novel that will strike dread into the heart of any new parent. The ending gave me goosebumps.”
—Mark Edwards, bestselling digital author of The House Guest
“I cannot recall the last time I read a novel as haunting as The Push. It is challenging, moving and thought provoking in all the best ways.”
—David Heyman, film producer of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
“[A] twisty, harrowing ride to the dark side of motherhood. . . . [The Push] is a sterling addition to the burgeoning canon of bad seed suspense, from an arrestingly original new voice.” 
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[T]ense, gripping . . . [The Push] will stay with you long after you finish the last page.”
“An utterly gripping novel that goes deep into the psychology of motherhood. Audrain begins by placing two facets of motherhood before us: first, that baby girls already have the capacity for motherhood within them—in their ovaries—in utero; and second, that girls and women are told not only that they will be mothers but that they will be good mothers. Female biology gets entangled with a woman's fate, and The Push digs into this mess in a jaw-dropping way.”
—Martha Sharpe, founder of Flying Books
“Both an absorbing thriller and an intense, profound look at the heartbreaking ways motherhood can go wrong, [The Push] is sure to provoke discussion.”

“[A] thrilling debut.”
—Harper’s Bazaar
The Push is a dazzling exercise in both economy of language and vividness of expression… [it] announces Audrain as a sophisticated, compelling writer, perfect for fans of thrillers and intimate family dramas alike.”
“[A] chilling page-turner that asks provocative questions about nature versus nurture and what makes a good mother.”
—Real Simple
“[The Push is] a psychological thriller that will make you question everything you know about motherhood.”
—Bitch Reads

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