cover image The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman

The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman

Molly Lynch. Catapult, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64622-142-4

Mothers disappear from their homes across the world in Lynch’s spectacular debut. Writing professor Ada Berger, 39, lives in Ann Arbor, Mich., with her husband, Danny, and six-year-old son, Gilles. Ada’s most comfortable in remote, unspoiled places and is in a perpetual state of fear that climate change will destroy the Earth and her small family. Her unease deepens when a local woman mysteriously disappears. As more mothers around the country vanish, Ada feels uncontrollably drawn to the small forest behind Gilles’s school, and when she finally enters a “space like a door, an entryway” in the woods, she loses track of time and senses herself merging with nature. Then Danny wakes up one morning to find that Ada is gone. Efua Asemota, who works with a federal task force, tells him the group is investigating 44 American women, all mothers, who seem to have walked voluntarily out of their lives and disappeared. Though a grimy Ada returns two weeks later, she can’t remember her time away, and she tumbles down a rabbit hole trying to figure out what happened. Writing in tight, precise prose, Lynch weaves environmental disaster, feminist theory, and classical myth into a mesmerizing tale. Lovers of Margaret Atwood and Lauren Groff will be among the many enthralled. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June)