*Finalist for the 2021 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction* From the author of Girls on Fire comes a "sharp and soulful and ferociously insightful" (Leslie Jamison) novel centered around a woman with no memory, the scientists studying her, and the daughter who longs to understand.
Wendy Doe is a woman with no past and no future. Without any memory of who she is, she's diagnosed with dissociative fugue, a temporary amnesia that could lift at any moment--or never at all--and invited by Dr. Benjamin Strauss to submit herself for experimental observation at his Meadowlark Institute for Memory Research. With few better options, Wendy feels she has no choice.
To Dr. Strauss, Wendy is a female body, subject to his investigation and control. To Strauss's ambitious student, Lizzie Epstein, she's an object of fascination, a mirror of Lizzie's own desires, and an invitation to wonder: once a woman is untethered from all past and present obligations of womanhood, who is she allowed to become?
To Alice, the daughter she left behind, Wendy Doe is an absence so present it threatens to tear Alice's world apart. Through their attempts to untangle Wendy's identity--as well as her struggle to construct a new self--Wasserman has crafted an "artful meditation on memory and identity" (The New York Times Book Review
) and a journey of discovery, reckoning, and reclamation. "A timely examination of memory, womanhood and power," (Time
) Mother Daughter Widow Wife
will leave you "utterly riveted" (BuzzFeed