Surreal Summer Read: ‘The Answers’ by Catherine Lacey

The Answers tells the story of Mary, an aimless New Yorker who has left behind her reclusive, religious family to start anew. Riddled with debt and health problems, she seeks answers anywhere she can get them. Her best friend, the flighty Chandra, usually points her to new-age healers who drive Mary further into debt. To get ahead, she takes on an unusual job playing the “emotional girlfriend” in an experiment conducted by eccentric, egotistical actor Kurt Sky. In her quest for answers, Mary touches on many topics that plague modern life, from the meaning of love to how physical and emotional wellbeing connect.

Overall Impression

A Lars and the Real Girl existential romance for the age of GOOP.

You Should Read It If

You enjoy both Murakami and Amanda Chantal Bacon.

Best Part

When protagonist Mary does drugs with Kurt, and they both become terrified of flavored water options at a fair.

Worst Part

New-age health fads act as a vehicle for surrealism, which works in some parts and falls flat in others.

Alternate Interpretation

The next big Hugh Grant movie.

Overall Rating

7/10. An unexpected and entertainingly weird venture into the meaning of life, love and pseudo-spirituality.