"I love Helen Phillips’s wild, brilliant, eccentric brain."
Some Possible Solutions offers an idiosyncratic series of “What ifs”: What if your perfect match existed on another planet? What if you could suddenly see through everybody’s skin to their organs? What if you knew the exact date of your death? What if your city was filled with doppelgängers of you?
Forced to navigate these bizarre scenarios, Phillips’ characters search for solutions to the problem of how to survive in an irrational, infinitely strange world. In dystopias that are exaggerated versions of the world in which we live, these characters strive for intimacy and struggle to resolve their fraught relationships with each other, with themselves, and with their place in the natural world.
We meet a wealthy woman who purchases a high-tech sex toy in the shape of a man, a window-washer of indeterminate gender hired to serve as a rich girl’s babysitter, and orphaned twin sisters who work as futuristic strippers–and we discover that no one is quite what they appear.
"This stunning collection establishes Helen Philips as one of the most interesting and talented writers working today. In atmosphere and setting, her stories are often reminiscent of Kafka and Atwood, yet her voice and style are entirely her own. A fascinating, unsettling, and beautifully written work."
Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
"Like Margaret Atwood and Lorrie Moore, Phillips has a knack for combining the strange, the speculative, and the mundane into an unpredictable array of stories. Like our best thinkers and futurists, she has the audacity to extrapolate the perhaps-possible, to explore potential answers to some of our deepest, unspoken questions."
The Chicago Review of Books
"Helen Phillips sings like a Siren on the page (if a Siren also had a killer sense of humor). The short stories in Some Possible Solutions feature doppelgangers and sister-savants, impossible staircases and surreal city parks; they swing open like doors onto rich, strange worlds, which, on closer inspection, reveal themselves to be our own. Phillips’ fans will hear echoes of 'Bluebeard' and Antigone, the Coen Brothers and Kafka and Shirley Jackson. But these tales are true originals, shining their eerie, lovely lights on the water and asking questions that linger."
Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
"I love Helen Phillips’s wild, brilliant, eccentric brain. Her vision flashes down like a lightning bolt into everyday terrors—having a baby, caring for a sick relative, raising a child in a city suffocating for lack of green space—but in a way so wonderfully awry that every single story in Some Possible Solutions has a freshness to it that comes as a shock to the reader’s system."
Lauren Groff, author of Fates and Furies
"Things happen that cannot happen. Marriages, motherhood, dinner parties, the future — Helen Phillips shows us the uncanny seams of ordinary lives and wishes. What is the purpose of stories as strange, as lovely, as unsettling as these? There’s the joy the reader takes in Phillips’s sentences, of course, and her way of seeing. But there’s also the sense that we have been invited on a desperately needed tour of our own dreams, nightmares, premonitions in which Phillips will be our guide. I recommend the experience to any and all — this is an essential collection."
Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
"Comparisons to Margaret Atwood and Karen Russell would not be unjust, nor would they be helpful; Phillips is carving her own, messier territory."
The New York Times Book Review
"She is a master at building slightly askew worlds that resemble our own but allow for the inexplicable, the astonishing, the surreal."
The Los Angeles Times
Elle “19 Summer Books that Everyone Will Be Talking About”
Google Play Editorial’s “Favorite Books of 2016”