We Spread, Iain Reid

An illustrated, off white cover with orange tree roots spread over it. The roots could be neurons from the brain, it's subjective

Written in the quirky style Reid is known for, We Spread follows Penny as she traverses life both before and inside life at an assisted living home. But Penny is losing time, or at least, others are telling her she is. But she’s not quite sure it’s due to aging or even the dreaded Alzheimer’s. While she is making friends amongst the other few residents, something is happening at Six Cedars, and she wants to get to the bottom of it.

Reid captures Penny perfectly. From being scared to the eery atmosphere of unknowing, we take a leisurely, sometimes frightening walk in Penny’s shoes. One of the biggest problems facing the elderly is utter isolation, where people sometimes face days, weeks, or months entirely alone. Without companionship or human touch, it’s a heartbreaking place to be. Reid captures that loneliness so well in Penny, who alternates between enjoying being pampered and thinking it’s too much. Readers are in for a treat with this one. Thank you, Gallery Books, for sending this along.

Book Links (releasing September 27th)


About the Book

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.

Read this review on Goodreads and Bookbub.


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