The author of the “evocative, spine-tingling, and razor-sharp” (Bustle) I’m Thinking of Ending Things that inspired the Netflix original movie and the “short, shocking psychological three-hander” (The Guardian) Foe returns with a new work of philosophical suspense.
Penny, an artist, has lived in the same apartment for decades, surrounded by the artifacts and keepsakes of her long life. She is resigned to the mundane rituals of old age, until things start to slip. Before her longtime partner passed away years earlier, provisions were made, unbeknownst to her, for a room in a unique long-term care residence, where Penny finds herself after one too many “incidents.”
Initially, surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, looking out at the beautiful woods that surround the house, all is well. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny—with a growing sense of unrest and distrust—starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and on her place in the world. Is she succumbing to the subtly destructive effects of aging, or is she an unknowing participant in something more unsettling?
At once compassionate and uncanny, told in spare, hypnotic prose, Iain Reid’s genre-defying third novel explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.
About the author
Iain Reid is the author of two critically acclaimed, award-winning books of nonfiction; One Bird's Choice and The Truth About Luck, which was selected by The Globe and Mail as one of the best books of 2013. Reid’s essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications throughout North America. In 2015, he was the recipient of the prestigious RBC Taylor Emerging Writer award. Reid is a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied history, English literature, and philosophy. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is his first novel.
Excerpt: We Spread (by (author) Iain Reid)
“[An] exquisite novel of psychological suspense . . . [Leaves] readers contemplating their own mortality and primed to see the sinister behind the mundane . . . This deep plunge into fears about growing old and losing control is unforgettable.”
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“I loved this book and couldn’t put it down—a deeply gripping, surreal, and wonderfully mysterious novel. Not only has Reid given us a brilliant page-turner, but a profoundly moving meditation on life and art, death and infinity. Reid is a master.”
— MONA AWAD, author of Bunny and All’s Well
“Simply hypnotic. This novel works by a fine hat trick of genre-twisting subtlety, chilling suspense, and a bone-close two-fold portrait of aging in a world that devours everything. The book surprises, even betrays, and every second of its rich rewards is earned by Iain Reid’s winning, wise restraint. Read it to be caught in this brilliantly inspired vision of art and life. I am glad I did.”
— CANISIA LUBRIN, Griffin Poetry Prize–winning author of The Dyzgraphxst
“Reid combines magnetic character development with clipped, eerie prose in this masterfully crafted psychological thriller that will keep the reader guessing until the very last word on the final page.”
“A taut and frightening read, perhaps best called a thriller. But the true thrill is in how so slender a book tackles such big questions—What does it mean to make art? What happens as we near death?—with such grace.”
— RUMAAN ALAM, author of Leave the World Behind
“Pure storytelling magic. Suspenseful, philosophically rich, and fully audacious in both setting and voice, it is a psychological thriller that enthralls through distinctly lucid and propulsive prose. Iain Reid once again most powerfully illuminates the mysteries of art, life, and consciousness.”
— DAVID CHARIANDY, award-winning author of Brother
“Iain Reid does a masterful job at an unreliable narrator and keeps us off balance throughout this highly accomplished and fascinating novel.”
— The Globe and Mail
“[We Spread] flashes by at a pace that becomes ever more breezy as the true nature of Six Cedars and its inhabitants becomes clearer.”
— Toronto Star
“Insidious, unsettling, creepy, tense—they’re all words that can describe this genre-defying novel. At its heart, We Spread asks the question, ‘What happens to our minds when we approach death?’ . . . We’re exposed to the uncomfortably raw experience of facing the fears we all share when contemplating the end of life.”
— Canadian Living
“A powerful evocation of aging and loss. . . . Genuinely affecting. It’s a powerful approach to storytelling, and a courageous one: to commit to ambiguity requires a leap of faith on the part of the reader, and trust in the writer. In We Spread, Reid demonstrates once again that such trust isn’t misplaced.”
— Quill & Quire (Starred Review)