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We Spread
Cover of We Spread
We Spread
by Iain Reid
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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" (The Guardian) Foe returns with a new work of suspense following an elderly woman trapped in a mysterious facility.
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 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 "exquisite novel of psychological suspense" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.
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" (The Guardian) Foe returns with a new work of suspense following an elderly woman trapped in a mysterious facility.
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 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 "exquisite novel of psychological suspense" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.
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About the Author-
  • Iain Reid is the author of four previous books, including his New York Times bestselling debut novel I'm Thinking of Ending Things, which has been translated into more than twenty languages. Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman wrote and directed the film adaptation for Netflix. His second novel, Foe, is being adapted for film, starring Saoirse Ronan, with Reid cowriting the screenplay. His latest novel is We Spread. Reid lives in Ontario, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @Reid_Iain.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 11, 2022
    Aging artist Penny, the unreliable narrator of this exquisite novel of psychological suspense from Reid (Foe), becomes less able to manage her life after the death of her longterm romantic partner, a prolific painter whose success contrasted with Penny’s timidity in showing her own work. After a bad fall, Penny’s landlord drops her at Six Cedars, a small, isolated retirement home in the woods of a larger setting that’s left ambiguous. The owner, Shelley; the other three residents; and the lone employee seem to be waiting for Penny to complete their group—they insist that Penny chose Six Cedars for herself before her partner’s death, despite her not remembering doing so. Penny becomes disoriented in time and increasingly disturbed as she bristles against Shelley’s strange group meetings, control of daily life, and push to keep the residents “positive and productive” while preventing them from going outside. Reid teases at the secrets of Six Cedars without ever fully resolving them, amid Penny’s confused but salient perceptions, leaving readers contemplating their own mortality and primed to see the sinister behind the mundane. Despite the lack of resolution, the story feels complete as it closes with a disturbingly upbeat and peaceful scene. This deep plunge into fears about growing old and losing control is unforgettable. Agent: Samantha Haywood, Transatlantic Agency.

  • AudioFile Magazine Robin Miles provides such a commanding performance that she maintains a grip on the listener even as events of this story become less clear. Penny is an artist recently widowed by her prolific partner. After a fall at home, thoughtful and reserved Penny finds herself spirited to an assisted living home, where she finds just a few other residents living under increasingly mysterious circumstances. Events unfold strictly from Penny's point of view. She appears to be progressively unreliable, continually forgetting key decisions, including the arrangement with the living facility in the first place. Miles's voice captures Penny's mounting dread and doubt while seizing opportunities to engage in moments of control, making the impact of this story even more emotional. S.P.C. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
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We Spread
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Iain Reid
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