The Whispers: A Novel (Hardcover)
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From the author of THE PUSH, a pageturner about four suburban families whose lives are changed when the unthinkable happens--and what is lost when good people make unconscionable choices
The Loverlys sit by the hospital bed of their young son who is in a coma after falling from his bedroom window in the middle of the night; his mother, Whitney, will not speak to anyone. Back home, their friends and neighbors are left in shock, each confronting their own role in the events that led up to what happened that terrible night: the warm, altruistic Parks who are the Loverlys' best friends; the young, ambitious Goldsmiths who are struggling to start a family of their own; and the quiet, elderly Portuguese couple who care for their adult son with a developmental disability, and who pass the long days on the front porch, watching their neighbors go about their busy lives.
The story spins out over the course of one week, in the alternating voices of the women in each family as they are forced to face the secrets within the walls of their own homes, and the uncomfortable truths that connect them all to one another. Set against the heartwrenching drama of what will happen to Xavier, who hangs between death and life, or a life changed forever, THE WHISPERS is a novel about what happens when we put our needs ahead of our children's. Exploring the quiet sacrifices of motherhood, the intuitions that we silence, the complexities of our closest friendships, and the danger of envy, this is a novel about the reverberations of life's most difficult decisions.
About the Author
Ashley Audrain previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. This is her second novel.
Praise for The Whispers:
"The Whispers is spellbinding, a shimmering, visceral ride…Nobody delves as deep into the guts of motherhood as Ashley Audrain, she really is in a league of her own."
—Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Family Remains
“Enticing, nuanced, and unflinching, The Whispers opens a secret portal into the private lives of women in suburbia.”
—Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid
“No one understands the secret lives of women like Ashley Audrain. In her electrifying new novel, The Whispers, the unspoken fears, desires, and shame of four neighbors threaten the lives they've so carefully constructed. It's a razor-sharp page-turner. Masterful!”
—Carley Fortune, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Every Summer After
“Riveting… a fearless deep dive into the real internal lives of women. The Whispers is a brilliant, deeply affecting novel you won’t soon forget.”
—Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of Everyone Here Is Lying
“The Whispers is a masterwork: a page-turner, a searing emotional rollercoaster and a beautifully-written hymn to the pain, the love, the fury of motherhood. I could think about nothing but Ashley Audrain’s perfectly-drawn characters in the three days it took me to tear through this novel, and I suspect they will live on in my mind for a long time to come. Sensational.”
—Rosie Walsh, New York Times bestselling author of The Love of My Life
“Driven by desire, jealousy and revenge, everyone is under suspicion and guilty of something in this powerful, edgy and addictive novel by the queen of psychological drama, Ashley Audrain. An honest, uncensored look at women and motherhood in the wake of a mysterious tragedy, The Whispers is a must-read.”
—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Just the Nicest Couple
“Ashley Audrain writes about motherhood and how it feels to be a woman today with a fearlessness few can muster. Every time I turned a page, I thought: yes! This is why I read--to connect, to feel seen, to be confronted with my deepest fears, and, of course, to go on a breathtakingly suspenseful ride while doing it.”
—Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of The Husbands
“The Whispers is a chilling story and a beautifully observed exploration of what it means to be a woman, highlighting the sacrifices involved and the often frightening choices that have to be made. The knowledge that something awful is looming lends the narrative a compelling sense of unease that builds to a thickening dread as Audrain ratchets up the tension. A quietly revelatory and unnerving novel that works on so many levels—I couldn’t put it down.”
—Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Retreat
"Ashley Audrain has a profound understanding of how thin the line between good and evil can be. The Whispers leads readers past the carefully composed facade of Harlow Street to dig, unflinchingly, into themes of motherhood, fidelity, privilege and complicity, resulting in a novel that not only delivers on the promise of its taut, explosive and page-turning plot—but redefines the very idea of what a thriller is and can be. Daring, incisive, and exquisitely written, Audrain has proven herself a force like no other."
—Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie
"Audrain takes a deep dive into the secret lives of women in this standout work of literary suspense...The novel soars via Audrain’s clever revelations of the ways her protagonists’ lives are linked in ways they never suspected. Both artful and pulse pounding, this isn’t easily shaken."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The Toronto-based writer has cornered the market on stories about the dark side of motherhood."
“Ashley Audrain returns with evocative questions about motherhood and desire, examining the things we sacrifice for our children—and the things we don’t. Populated with characters that feel like your own neighbors, The Whispers is a heart-stopping read.”
—Danya Kukafka, bestselling author of Notes on an Execution
“The magic of Ashley Audrain's fiction lies in her ability to capture motherhood's darkest and most difficult moments. In Audrain's universe there are no good or bad mothers, there are just women… struggling to do their best.… I saw myself in every word of this novel.”
—Joanna Rakoff, bestselling author of The Fifth Passenger
“I couldn’t put The Whispers down. It held me by my throat the entire way and left me in awe of Audrain’s talent and her ability to put the female experience so ruthlessly, so painfully and so beautifully into words. She is exceptional at her craft, one of the best, and her work should be read religiously and consistently by all. I can’t recommend this book enough.”
—Salma El-Wardany, author of These Impossible Things
“Ashley Audrain is the master of simmering resentment and paranoia, mental load and motherhood. This slow-burn thriller is gripping and horrifying and with a perfectly shocking ending. It's going to be huge, absolutely unmissable.”
—Catherine Cooper, bestselling author of The Chateau
“A beautifully written, twisty and thought-provoking novel about the demands of modern women, motherhood and how our own past shapes us. The Whispers is packed with suspense, tension and unforgettable characters and I couldn’t read it fast enough. I adored it!”
—Claire Douglas, author of The Girls Who Disappeared