Set in a mysterious old-age home, and told from the perspective of its newest resident, Penny, We Spread is frightening and memorable. The home’s four residents are remarkably talented artists and academics, and are encouraged by the home’s director and caretaker to keep creating and working as they’re cared for in their golden years. It sounds idyllic, but the inside view we get of Six Cedars from Penny’s perspective is fractured and incomplete. She is disoriented and frightened, but we can’t just chalk that up to old age; something inexplicably sinister is going on at Six Cedars.
For readers who like unconventional thrillers and different perspectives (it's not often we find a novel with an older narrator).
— Elizabeth Hardin, Snail Readers Circle
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 psychological three-hander” (The Guardian) Foe returns with a new work of philosophical suspense.
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, unbeknownst to her, 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 genre-defying third novel explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.
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.
“Reid combines magnetic character development with clipped, eerie prose in this masterfully crafted psychological thriller that will keep the reader guessing until the very last word on the final page.”—Booklist
"Iain Reid’s We Spread is taut and frightening read, perhaps best called a thriller. But the true thrill is in how so slender a book tackles such big questions—What does it mean to make art? What happens as we near death?—with such grace.”
—Rumaan Alam, New York Times bestselling author of Leave The World Behind
“[An] exquisite novel of psychological suspense . . . [Leaves] readers contemplating their own mortality and primed to see the sinister behind the mundane . . . This deep plunge into fears about growing old and losing control is unforgettable.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"In We Spread Iain Reid masterfully gets into the psyche of his characters and readers all at once. What a gift."
—Alma Har'el, Director of Bombay Beach, Honey Boy, and Shadow Kingdom.
"I loved this book and couldn't put it down--a deeply gripping, surreal and wonderfully mysterious novel. Not only has Reid given us a brilliant page turner, but a profoundly moving meditation on life and art, death and infinity. Reid is a master." — Mona Awad, author of Bunny and All’s Well
“With this latest hypnotic transmission, Reid delves into the strange substructures of psychology, where individual minds blur and a more undifferentiated kind of life teems. With tenderness and mastery, he offers us great insights on the nature of aging and the vertiginous experience of being human.” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun
"We Spread is simply hypnotic. This novel works by a fine hat trick of genre-twisting subtlety, chilling suspense, and a bone-close two-fold portrait of aging in a world that devours everything. The book surprises, even betrays, and every second of its rich rewards is earned by Iain Reid's winning, wise restraint. Read it to be caught in this brilliantly inspired vision of art and life. I am glad I did." –Canisia Lubrin, Griffin Poetry Prize winning author of The Dyzgraphxst
"We Spread is pure storytelling magic. Suspenseful, philosophically rich, and fully audacious in both setting and voice, it is a psychological thriller that enthralls through distinctly lucid and propulsive prose. Iain Reid once again most powerfully illuminates the mysteries of art, life, and consciousness." –David Chariandy, author of Brother