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The Answers Review

by Charles Trapunski
2.5 out of 5 stars

Catherine Lacey’s The Answers is a postmodern take on dating and relationships. I really enjoy the idea of all of these things, and there were sections at the start of the book in which I loved and underlined extensively (a part about who actually births a baby was particularly mind-blowing).

The meat of the novel though, comes in Part Two, about a woman who goes onto an experimental medication to participate in something called a Girlfriend Experience (not to be confused with the Soderbergh film or the Amy Seimetz TV show). During this part of the book, I am ashamed to admit, I actually flipped ahead many pages to get to the heart of the story. I was surprised to discover that the dream state of the book was status quo and that Mary Parsons exists in a sort of subliminal state that recalled last month’s Isadora, with perhaps a smidgeon of Zero K by Don DeLillo, and to me that’s not a compliment. I don’t know what it is, but when a fiction novel starts to feel un-grounded from reality, especially to the point that almost anything is possible, I start to become unhinged from the task at hand.

Admittedly, this is likely the point of The Answers, (which Part Three seems to redeem through the understanding of not asking the correct questions). Yet I found the book to be more effort than reward, and maybe it it that I am just not comfortable with characters named Kurt Sky and PAKing and a whole lot of non-medicinal swirling psychedelia and a book that asks us to confront uncomfortable truths about our unhinged reality. Perhaps I don’t want answers or even to ask these particular questions.


The Answers was provided by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. It may be purchased from your friendly independent bookseller or other fine bookstores.

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