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Best of the Brightest 2021

The Push
By (author): Ashley Audrain
Ashley Audrain





Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Jan 05, 2021
$24.95 CAD


8.97in x 6.03 x 0.86 in | 0.84 lb

Page Count:

320 pages
Penguin Canada
FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
Kobo Emerging Writer Prize 2022, Short-listed The Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence - Best Crime Novel 2022, Winner

*SHORTLISTED for the 2022 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize*

A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, and about a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for, and everything she feared.

Blythe Connor is determined to be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby, Violet, that she never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe doesn’t find the connection with her daughter she expected. She’s convinced something is wrong with Violet—she is distant, rejects affection, and becomes increasingly disruptive at preschool.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. Fox doesn’t see what she sees; he sees a wife who is struggling to cope with the day-to-day challenges of being amother. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then, their son, Sam, is born—and with him, Blythe has the natural maternal connection she’d always dreamed of. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fallout forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a rare and extraordinary gift to readers: an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, about what really happens behind the closed doors of even the most perfect-looking families and about what it feels like when women are not believed.

Publication History: Original Trade Paperback

    A BOOK BOUND TO GENERATE NOISE, CONTROVERSY, AND SALES: The Push is the kind of book that women will read in a white heat, and immediately want to discuss with everyone they know. It has the kind of raw immediacy of Lionel Shriver coupled with the suspenseful feel of The Perfect Nanny—a crucial exploration about motherhood, about nature v. nurture, about how we can be pushed to the brink by our children.

    A SHORT, COMPULSIVE, HEART-WRENCHING READ: A book that is unputdownable, laser-sharp when it comes to the deep ambivalence women can feel about becoming mothers, about whether they can ever truly know their children, and how to recover from the wounds of the way they themselves were mothered….

    BOUGHT IN A MAJOR AUCTION AROUND THE WORLD: There was massive enthusiasm for The Push and an untitled second book around the globe; we bought the book in major overnight deals with Michael Joseph in the UK and Pamela Dorman Books in the US and it will be a huge worldwide publication. In addition, the agent has now sold the book in 30 territories around the world.

    TV RIGHTS OPTIONED BY HEYDAY PRODUCTIONS: Oscar-winning company founded by David Heyman, who was the producer for the Harry Potter series as well as many more.

    AUTHOR A PUBLISHING (AND PENGUIN!) VETERAN: Ashley began writing The Push after leaving her job as publicity director at Penguin Canada to raise her two young children. At Penguin, she worked with bestselling authors including Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Meg Wolitzer. She is poised to take on the role from the other side of the desk, and is well-known to many of us already.

    OTPB: We’re publishing in a beautifully packaged original trade format.

ASHLEY AUDRAIN’s debut novel, The Push, was a New York Times, Sunday Times (UK), and #1 international bestseller, and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. It has sold in more than forty territories, and a limited television series is currently in development. Audrain previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada, and prior to that she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Whispers is her second novel.

Author Residence: Toronto, Canada

Marketing: Pre-order advertising

Transit advertising

Print/press advertising

Google Display and interactive video advertising

Paid social advertising

Goodreads and NetGalley reader drives

Influencer outreach and paid promotions

Audio and podcast promotions

Key focus for Penguin Canada/corporate channels

Publicity: Author tour to Toronto and other TBC markets

Extensive print campaign (reviews, round-ups, interviews) focusing on outlets like Chatelaine, ELLE Canada, Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and Postmedia

Leverage title’s anticipation for key feature opportunities with author

Target key broadcast exposure with outlets including CTV’s The Social, CTV’s Marilyn Denis Show, and Cityline

National review mailing

Author Social Media: @audrain


*SHORTLISTED for the 2022 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize*

One of:
CBC’s “Five Canadian books we can’t wait to read in 2021”
Marie Claire's “2021 Book Releases to Pre-Order and Thank Yourself Later”
CrimeReads's “Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2021”
LitHub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2021”
Good Morning America's Book Club Picks
Jamie Lee Curtis’s favourite 2022 reads
Book Riot’s “12 Great Mysteries and Thrillers About Mother-Child Relationships”

Praise for The Push:

“[A] taut, tense thriller . . . [and] chilling debut.”
The New York Times

“[A] stunning, compelling read. . . . Written with an unflinching eye and a stylistically sharp, tight economy The Push is a single-sitting read, as suspenseful as any thriller, as thoughtful as any literary novel, with an almost physical force behind each of its turns and revelations. By the end, the reader will feel wrung out in the way only the best of books leaves you. Audrain’s debut is a stunning, devastating novel and, frankly, one hell of a way to start a year of reading.”
Toronto Star

“Audrain cleverly examines and exploits women’s near-universal anxiety that they won’t measure up to some internalized standard of maternal perfection dictated by society. . . But what makes it stand out from the rest is Audrain’s nuanced understanding of how women’s voices are discounted, how a thousand little slights can curdle a solid marriage and—in defiance of maternal taboos—how mothers really feel, sometimes, toward difficult children. . . . The Push [is] more than a novel of suspense, the sum of its parts speaking to the burdens we all carry, whether we are mothers or simply children of women who did the best they could, however far their best efforts may have fallen short.”
Los Angeles Times

“Utterly addictive.”
—Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

“Starkly original and compulsively readable, Ashley Audrain's The Push is a deep dive into the darkest nooks and crannies of motherhood. Raw, visceral, and often disturbing, this is an intense psychological drama that will be embraced by serious book clubs and fans of Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk about Kevin.”
—Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The Push was a poetic, propulsive read that set my nerves jangling in both horror and recognition. I read it in one sitting and it stayed with me for days afterwards. Not to be missed.”
—Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone

“With its riveting prose and deep convictions, Ashley Audrain’s The Push had me in its clutches from the first page. Audrain’s astute portrayal of motherhood was unsettling in its insights, yet highly entertaining on the page. Complex, nuanced, and unflinching, I inhaled this debut in one sitting.”
—Karma Brown, bestselling author of Recipe for a Perfect Wife

“Intensely absorbing, gripping until the final page, The Push excavates the myths of motherhood, deftly exploring the shape-shifting landscape of parenting, the powerful impact of the past on the present, and the deep unease of our inability to ever fully know even those we hold the closest.”
—Kim Edwards, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

“The Push is written on the edge of a knife. It’s a howl in the face of what we think we know—or want to believe—about motherhood. Relentlessly compelling, distressing and beautiful, Ashley Audrain’s debut is the next Gone Girl, with shades of We Need to Talk About Kevin. I devoured it whole.”
—Marissa Stapley, bestselling author of The Last Resort

“Stayed up too late finishing [Audrain’s] deeply unsettling The Push about the darkest reaches of motherhood (and profound maternal ambivalence). Visceral, provocative, compulsive, and with the most graphic and relatable description of childbirth I've read (or written).”
—Sarah Vaughan, bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal

Ashley Audrain's The Push is not only a propulsively entertaining, read-in-one-sitting novel, it is also a deeply provocative and fearless look at motherhood written in some of the prettiest prose you’ll read all year.”
Aimee Molloy, New York Times bestselling author of The Perfect Mother

“Written with a courage that borders on audacity, and with uncanny emotional and psychological precision, Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a taut, tour-de-force literary thriller that draws you in from the very first pages and plunges you into the most harrowing of journeys: parenthood.”
Bill Clegg, New York Times bestselling author of Did You Ever Have A Family?

“A tense and unsettling thriller that's immersive, chilling, and provocative. A book that’s best read in one sitting.”
—Iain Reid, author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things

“A meteoric debut. Ashley Audrain’s The Push is a force of nature, an unforgettable arrival that will linger in your heart—shimmer, darken and then haunt you. Every sentence is just so achingly alive. Audrain descends with near pointillistic precision into the gore of motherhood and love. Perhaps if Stephen King had experienced motherhood—the singular exaltation and morbid terror of that state—he might have been able to dream up this book. Wise, monstrous, and tender, The Push operates at a different frequency. It seemed to pulse in my hands. I could not put it down. I could not look away.”
—Claudia Dey, author of Heartbreaker and Stunt

“Compelling, beautifully written and wickedly entertaining. . . . A tremendously thought-provoking read.”
—Liz Nugent, author of Little Cruelties and Lying in Wait

“Utterly mesmerising. Ashley Audrain's powerful debut novel explores the challenges of motherhood and the terrifying isolation of being trapped within a sinister truth that no one else believes.”
—Fiona Valpy, #1 bestselling digital author of The Dressmaker’s Gift

“A chilling and beautifully written novel that will strike dread into the heart of any new parent. The ending gave me goosebumps.”
—Mark Edwards, bestselling digital author of The House Guest

“I cannot recall the last time I read a novel as haunting as The Push. It is challenging, moving and thought provoking in all the best ways.”
—David Heyman, film producer of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

“I was completely engrossed in The Push from the very first page. So tense, so all-encompassing! It's a jet-black story of motherhood, inheritance and expectations, and I loved it.”
—Abigail Dean, author of Girl A

“A provocative, compulsive novel about modern motherhood.”

“[A] twisty, harrowing ride to the dark side of motherhood. . . . [The Push] is a sterling addition to the burgeoning canon of bad seed suspense, from an arrestingly original new voice.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[T]ense, gripping . . . [The Push] will stay with you long after you finish the last page.”

“An utterly gripping novel that goes deep into the psychology of motherhood. Audrain begins by placing two facets of motherhood before us: first, that baby girls already have the capacity for motherhood within them—in their ovaries—in utero; and second, that girls and women are told not only that they will be mothers but that they will be good mothers. Female biology gets entangled with a woman's fate, and The Push digs into this mess in a jaw-dropping way.”
—Martha Sharpe, founder of Flying Books

“Both an absorbing thriller and an intense, profound look at the heartbreaking ways motherhood can go wrong, [The Push] is sure to provoke discussion.”

“[A] thrilling debut.”
—Harper’s Bazaar

“[The Push is] a grippingly tense page-turner that will challenge what you know about motherhood and tell the story of what happens when no one believes a desperate woman.”

The Push is a dazzling exercise in both economy of language and vividness of expression… [it] announces Audrain as a sophisticated, compelling writer, perfect for fans of thrillers and intimate family dramas alike.”

“A gripping debut that explores and manipulates the fears and insecurities of mothers everywhere . . . Well thought out, vividly realised and gripping.”
Guardian (UK)

“An inventive twist on the psychological thriller formula . . . Audrain sustains the suspense expertly through assured handling of her unravelling protagonist's voice.”
Sunday Times (UK)

“Ashley dares us to find the relatable in the worst we can imagine . . . the knife-edge between relatability and horror keeps the reader hooked.”

“I was gripped from the first word to the last. I've been wanting a book to take me back to how I felt when I first read We Need to Talk About Kevin. When you close the book but can't function until you know how it ends . . . I really recommend this one.”
—Dawn O'Porter

“I was gripped . . . dazzling and gloriously complete.”
—Daisy Buchanan

“A compelling, compulsively readable thriller that never lets up and will keep you guessing right to the very last page.”
Daily Express

“Powerful and immersive.”
—Emma Stonex, author of The Lamplighters

“Audrain is a master of tense writing and manages to capture your senses in a whirlwind of spine-tingling horror. Her ability to tell a story is unparallel and she effortlessly enchants the reader with a gripping tale, which will have you flying through this book in no time.”
The South African

The Push is at once a harrowing thriller and a larger examination of the complex relationships between parents and children.”
Danya Kufafka, bestselling author of Girl in Snow

“An international bestseller, Ashley has crafted a page-turning psychological drama about a woman whose worst fears come true when she becomes a mother.”
Literary Hub

“A chilling story.”

“This is a breathtakingly honest portrayal of motherhood that sent shivers down my spine. Ashley Audrain writes with such brevity and beauty that I couldn’t put the book down.”
—Salma El-Wardany, author of These Impossible Things

“[E]erie to the point where it gives you goosebumps, and it’s basically impossible to stop reading until you get to the very end.”

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