A woman considers pregnancy, motherhood, and the nature of female relationships in this profound and provocative novel.
Twelve weeks pregnant for the first time, Anna speaks to her sister on the other side of the country and learns she has just miscarried her second child. As this loss strains their bond and complications with Anna's own pregnancy emerge, her tenuous steps towards motherhood are shadowed and illuminated by the women she meets along the way, whose stories of the children they have had, or longed for, or lost, crowd in.
The Long Answer is a stunning novel of secrets kept, and secrets shared. Deeply empathetic and hugely absorbing, it unravels the intimate dynamics of female friendship, sisterhood, motherhood and grief, and the ways that women are bound together and pulled apart by their shared and contrasting experiences of pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, and infertility.
About the Author
Anna Hogeland is a psychotherapist in private practice, with an MSW from Smith College School of Social Work and an MFA from UC Irvine. She lives in Vermont.
"A breathtaking roundup of the many ways that women carry and lose babies and pregnancies, so many possible and impossible choices to be made, so many capitulations and coercions to be endured. All the narratives in the novel make clear that the only thing that makes any of it bearable is the agency each woman can claim...These stories are crucial." – The New York Times Book Review
“A compelling, often-heartbreaking tale of belonging, loss, and rebirth. Looking beyond pregnancy's physical transformations, Hogeland explores what it means to feel parental, to choose a life bigger than your own, or to lose a precious gift…The Long Answer is a heartfelt, finely wrought journey for fans of Suzanne Finnamore, Erica Jong, and Marian Keyes.” – Booklist, starred review
“An introspective, psychologically astute, and engaging debut… a heart-rending tale that blurs the line between fiction and reality…A startling meditation on grief and family and betrayal and the stories we tell about ourselves.” – Kirkus,starred review
"I’ve never read a book that speaks so bravely, and eloquently, about the burdens that women carry. Hogeland brings moments of darkness into the light. Astonishing. A masterpiece." – Steve Almond, New York Times-bestselling author of All the Secrets of the World
“A brilliant debut, both coolly empathetic and searingly personal, a powerful bridge between fiction's two current modes. Anna Hogeland writes beautifully, with unwavering passion and insight, about the complexities of motherhood and female relationships.” – Jess Walter, New York Times-bestselling author of The Cold Millions
"In her gorgeous debut, Anna Hogeland expertly explores issues of fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and the uncertainty and trauma that too often accompany these major events. Hogeland's empathetic protagonist absorbs the stories of the women around her, ultimately clinging to them for meaning in the face of her own tragedy. This book is a woman's space, and readers will feel heard and seen." — Erika Krouse, author of Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation
“A brilliantly constructed novel about women, and about the power of love in the heart of one woman through whom these female souls are elucidated, their passions, their terrible losses, and their bravery. These characters breathe on the page, and their stories are moving and involving. Anna Hogeland is a wonderfully talented writer.” – Richard Bausch, author of Peace
“In concentric circles of stories told and stories secreted away, The Long Answer is about women making life and losing life and about fertility itself--the promise and the more complicated truth. This beautiful novel tugs at friendship, marriage, family and women in moments of heartbreaking and miraculous transformation.” – Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty