The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman

Molly Lynch





Released June 13, 2023

Fates and Furies meets Melancholia in this ominous and absorbing debut novel about marriage and motherhood in a time of ecological collapse, as mothers around the world begin to mysteriously vanish from their homes.

Ada—a woman from Montreal living reluctantly in Michigan—vanishes from her bed one night while her husband Danny is asleep beside her, her young son, Gilles, in the next room. Desperate to locate Ada before Gilles understands what has happened, Danny begins a search. But the feds are already involved: across the country and around the world, mothers are vanishing from their homes.

Where did Ada go? What has she gone through? And how does the mystery relate to the forest that she seemed magnetically drawn to?

Confronting the role of motherhood and the meaning of home in the wreckage of capitalism and climate change, The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman is that rare, dazzling debut that is both thrilling and profound. It is a mystery, a play on myths of metamorphosis, and above all, a story of love—between husband and wife, mother and child—deeply troubled by the future we face.

Published by Catapult

The writing, exquisite and vivid, pulls you close and demonstrates how the vast wilderness of what we live through—capitalistic pressure, social rupture, ecological collapse—necessitates an equally fierce intimacy with the people we love

Vanity Fair

Molly Lynch’s hypnotic debut, in its intensity and wry wisdom, evokes the early feminist novels of Margaret Atwood. Lynch is the kind of writer who can, with the turn of a phrase, set the ordinary thrumming with almost unbearable tension. She reminds us that in our current age, all of our placid hours, our every affection—most especially for our children—can be upended by dread. A writer to watch, and to celebrate.

Alice McDermott

author of The Ninth Hour

The ontological strangeness of planetary transition comes home in this meticulous and disturbing novel of suburban eco-horror. Molly Lynch’s The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman captures in exquisite detail the everyday monstrosity of climate change, the uncanny way our collective predicament possesses us, at once cause and effect, inside and outside, nature and self. Intimate, unmooring, brilliantly rendered, and deeply spooky, this novel will haunt you long after you put it down.

Roy Scranton

author of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene

How can women bear America? The only answer, I think, is for them all to leave. This wise, complex and fascinating novel touches on that possibility.   
Lucy Ellmann

author of Booker Prize shortlisted Ducks, Newburyport

Bold and brilliant. The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman is a novel that takes on the uncertainty of our present moment. Molly Lynch’s voice is fearless as she gives us a story that is both a page-turner and radical new mythology for our time.
Claudia Dey

author of Heartbreaker