The Whispers: A Novel (Hardcover)
“Expertly, subtly and powerfully rendered….[The Whispers] delivers a sucker-punch ending you’ll have to read twice to believe.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[An] electrifying…razor-sharp page-turner.” —Carley Fortune, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Every Summer After
Featured in summer reading recommendations by Good Morning America, TIME, ELLE, The Washington Post & more
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Push, a propulsive page-turner about four families whose lives are changed when the unthinkable happens—and what is lost when we give in to our own worst impulses
On Harlow Street, the well-to-do neighborhood couples and their children gather for a catered barbecue as the summer winds down; drinks continue late into the night.
Everything is fabulous until the picture-perfect hostess explodes in fury because her son disobeys her. Everyone at the party hears her exquisite veneer crack—loud and clear. Before long, that same young boy falls from his bedside window in the middle of the night. And then, his mother can only sit by her son’s hospital bed, where she refuses to speak to anyone, and his life hangs in the balance.
What happens next, over the course of a tense three days, as each of these women grapple with what led to that terrible night?
Exploring envy, women’s friendships, desire, and the intuitions that we silence, The Whispers is a chilling novel that marks Audrain as a major women's fiction talent.
About the Author
Ashley Audrain's debut novel, The Push, was an instant New York Times bestseller. She previously served as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada, and prior to that, 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.
Praise for The Whispers:
“In The Whispers Ashley Audrain explores the combustibility of secrets and rage among mothers in a small community… expertly, subtly and powerfully rendered….[and] she delivers a sucker-punch ending you’ll have to read twice to believe.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“The Whispers is spellbinding, a shimmering, visceral ride…Nobody delves as deep into the guts of motherhood as Ashley Audrain, she really is in a league of her own.”
—Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Family Remains
“Keen, observant...The Whispers examines the role of envy among friend groups, the power of maternal love and the ties that bind a community.”
—Zibby Owens for Good Morning America
“Audrain delves into the minds of women entering midlife who must now face the choices they made as well as their own complicity in shaming those who prioritize something different for themselves.”
—The Washington Post
“Enticing, nuanced, and unflinching, The Whispers opens a secret portal into the private lives of women in suburbia.”
—Nita Prose, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Maid
“No one understands the secret lives of women like Ashley Audrain. In her electrifying new novel, The Whispers, the unspoken fears, desires, and shame of four neighbors threaten the lives they've so carefully constructed. It's a razor-sharp page-turner. Masterful!”
—Carley Fortune, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Every Summer After
"I absolutely loved this book."
—Miranda Cowley Heller, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace
“Riveting… a fearless deep dive into the real internal lives of women. The Whispers is a brilliant, deeply affecting novel you won’t soon forget.”
—Shari Lapena, New York Times bestselling author of Everyone Here Is Lying
“The Whispers is a masterwork: a page-turner, a searing emotional rollercoaster and a beautifully-written hymn to the pain, the love, the fury of motherhood. I could think about nothing but Ashley Audrain’s perfectly-drawn characters in the three days it took me to tear through this novel, and I suspect they will live on in my mind for a long time to come. Sensational.”
—Rosie Walsh, New York Times bestselling author of The Love of My Life
“Driven by desire, jealousy and revenge, everyone is under suspicion and guilty of something in this powerful, edgy and addictive novel by the queen of psychological drama, Ashley Audrain. An honest, uncensored look at women and motherhood in the wake of a mysterious tragedy, The Whispers is a must-read.”
—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Just the Nicest Couple
“Ashley Audrain writes about motherhood and how it feels to be a woman today with a fearlessness few can muster. Every time I turned a page, I thought: yes! This is why I read--to connect, to feel seen, to be confronted with my deepest fears, and, of course, to go on a breathtakingly suspenseful ride while doing it.”
—Chandler Baker, New York Times bestselling author of The Husbands
“The Whispers is a chilling story and a beautifully observed exploration of what it means to be a woman, highlighting the sacrifices involved and the often frightening choices that have to be made. The knowledge that something awful is looming lends the narrative a compelling sense of unease that builds to a thickening dread as Audrain ratchets up the tension. A quietly revelatory and unnerving novel that works on so many levels—I couldn’t put it down.”
—Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Retreat
"Ashley Audrain has a profound understanding of how thin the line between good and evil can be. The Whispers leads readers past the carefully composed facade of Harlow Street to dig, unflinchingly, into themes of motherhood, fidelity, privilege and complicity, resulting in a novel that not only delivers on the promise of its taut, explosive and page-turning plot—but redefines the very idea of what a thriller is and can be. Daring, incisive, and exquisitely written, Audrain has proven herself a force like no other."
—Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie
“The novel’s breathless pace and devastatingly poignant observations about the realities of motherhood and womanhood today make every page a gut punch, and the mystery woven in will leave you guessing until the very last page.”
“Ashley Audrain’s delightfully disturbing first novel immediately established her as a voice to watch, and The Whispers brings more of Audrain’s cutting observations about motherhood and social mores.”
"Audrain takes a deep dive into the secret lives of women in this standout work of literary suspense...The novel soars via Audrain’s clever revelations of the ways her protagonists’ lives are linked in ways they never suspected. Both artful and pulse pounding, this isn’t easily shaken."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The Toronto-based writer has cornered the market on stories about the dark side of motherhood."
"An electrifying psychological thriller about motherhood and what happens when our selfishness kicks into overdrive, overshadowing our children’s needs."
“The author of The Push returns with another poignant and dark rumination on the role of mothers.”
“Ashley Audrain returns with evocative questions about motherhood and desire, examining the things we sacrifice for our children—and the things we don’t. Populated with characters that feel like your own neighbors, The Whispers is a heart-stopping read.”
—Danya Kukafka, bestselling author of Notes on an Execution
“The magic of Ashley Audrain's fiction lies in her ability to capture motherhood's darkest and most difficult moments. In Audrain's universe there are no good or bad mothers, there are just women… struggling to do their best.… I saw myself in every word of this novel.”
—Joanna Rakoff, bestselling author of The Fifth Passenger
“I couldn’t put The Whispers down. It held me by my throat the entire way and left me in awe of Audrain’s talent and her ability to put the female experience so ruthlessly, so painfully and so beautifully into words. She is exceptional at her craft, one of the best, and her work should be read religiously and consistently by all. I can’t recommend this book enough.”
—Salma El-Wardany, author of These Impossible Things
“Ashley Audrain is the master of simmering resentment and paranoia, mental load and motherhood. This slow-burn thriller is gripping and horrifying and with a perfectly shocking ending. It's going to be huge, absolutely unmissable.”
—Catherine Cooper, bestselling author of The Chateau
“A beautifully written, twisty and thought-provoking novel about the demands of modern women, motherhood and how our own past shapes us. The Whispers is packed with suspense, tension and unforgettable characters and I couldn’t read it fast enough. I adored it!”
—Claire Douglas, author of The Girls Who Disappeared
“The Whispers held me in its grip from the first page until the final, gasp-worthy line - a raw, provocative, mesmerising thriller, charting the darkest psychological contours of motherhood with devastating precision. Audrain writes with such unsettling honesty and I found it impossible to tear myself away from her characters. Fans of The Push will not be disappointed!”
—Katherine Faulkner, author of The Other Mothers