Book Review: The Answers

Title: The Answers
Author: Catherine Lacey
Publisher: Granta Books
Pages: 291
ISBN: 9781783782178
Source: Publisher

‘The Answers’ is a book with dystopian elements, wherein we see Emotions and Love being quantified. It is actually, a satire on the so called hi-tech age- an age in which Technology & Science tries to encompass everything. The book offers a picture of the situations that we may witness in future.

Time for the Girlfriend Experiment

Of late, Mary has been living a troubled life. She is burdened by debt & her body is also showing several strange symptoms. As recommended by her friend- Chandra, Mary is undertaking a course of Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia (PAKing) to get rid of her sufferings. She has a job but she is not getting paid well enough to pay for her PAKing sessions & clear her debt.

Left with little options, Mary takes part in the Girlfriend Experiment (GX)- a job offering high salary with less working hours. The experiment is being conducted by a research group hired by a famous actor- director, Kurt Sky. Mary has to play the role of an Emotional Girlfriend, among a Mundane Girlfriend, Angry Girlfriend, IT Girlfriend, Maternity Girlfriend, etc.

Mary’s task is to offer emotional support to Kurt, maintain an eye contact while Kurt is talking to her and to place a hand on his shoulder whenever required. The Angry Girlfriend is supposed to be angry at Kurt, the Maternity Girlfriend is to do the household work & so on. The Research team will analyze all the processes from the sensors that are attached to the bodies of the girlfriends & Kurt. Their motive is to derive some formula for a perfect relationship.

What makes things even more interesting is that Mary has never heard about Kurt, who happens to be a celebrity. It is so because Mary was home schooled. So, Mary’s meetings with Kurt for the GX, her PAKing sessions & the things- I’d rather say the answers that she discovers, forms the plot of the book.

My Verdict

The story line of the book is enticing enough, to keep us immersed throughout the pages. The very opening chapter makes it difficult for us to leave aside the book. I feel it is the writing that keeps us hooked. Mary is a fascinating character from the very beginning itself. And I like how character shapes up as we move towards the end.

Besides the main plot, the novel also explores Mary’s relationship with her family. Her mother, her father & her Aunt, Clara, who raised her, have a mention every now & then. And I found it quite amusing to read about Mary’s family background. The PAKing sessions take us to to the subconscious mind of Mary. These sessions actually contribute a lot to the plot.

The author has to be commended for her imagination- not only for the idea of GX, but also for the thing called PAKing which doesn’t exist in real life. It is really impressive how she has used these things to convey what she wanted to. Having hired girlfriends is not very far from reality. A few months back, one of my Professors told me how people abroad, are getting paid to be friends to those, who are in need of friends. And it is quite grotesque that emotions are being sold & purchased!

I loved this book but the ending was a bit disappointing. It actually left a few questions instead of offering the answers. But that doesn’t stop me from recommending this book. Everyone will love the way Catherine Lacey questions the thing called Love!

My Rating: *** (3.25/5)

What do you think about this book? Does the idea of GX sounds interesting to you? Do share your thoughts. Thanks.

Check it online at, Book Depository and Goodreads.

* I received a copy of this book from the Publisher, in exchange for an honest book. Views expressed are entirely true & unbiased.*

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