The Night Child by Anna Quinn
Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl’s face appears above the students’ desks—“a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora’s body—the kind of raw terror you feel when there’s no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire—when you think you might die.”
Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. Shaken and unsteady, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered—a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown.
This breathtaking debut novel examines the impact of traumatic childhood experiences and the fragile line between past and present. Exquisitely nuanced and profoundly intimate, The Night Child is a story of resilience, hope, and the capacity of the mind, body, and spirit to save itself despite all odds.
“Anna Quinn writes with bright and assured authority, making this a remarkable debut novel you won’t soon forget. Her haunting story, expertly and lovingly crafted, leaves you breathless with both terror and hope.” —Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“The Night Child is a powerful, beautifully written, transformative novel that struck a rare chord with me. When I recall Nora’s journey, I am affected viscerally, as if I were reliving her painful memories alongside her. ‘Must-read’ is not a phrase I use often; I am using it now: you must read this book!” —Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
“The Night Child is a powerful, heart-wrenching psychological tale…Characters are extremely well developed, especially Nora, whose difficulties connecting with people, be they her unfaithful husband or her energetic daughter, feel realistic…Though it is emotionally challenging to read, The Night Child’s gentle dealings with heavy subjects highlight the fragility of the human mind and the intense journeys required to heal deep wounds.” —Foreword Reviews
“Quite the psychological tale. A third person narrative, this is a short story that this reader could have read in one setting but needed a break from the intense subject matter. Nora’s character is complex but relatable and the plot is a strong and disturbing emotional read. The subject matter is honest and intense, full of courage and is unforgettable, very much a book that will linger in your mind. There are trigger warnings as the book deals with child abuse, mental illness, and adultery in this story. The author wrote about a hard subject with a clear voice and is an author to be watched for future stories.” —Portland Book Review
“The Night Child is an exhilarating debut: Quinn immediately pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go until the final scene. She commands each page and expertly dives into the inner working of a broken mind. This fast-paced, riveting novel of coping with the past while trying to salvage life in the present is hard to put down.” —Booklist
Anna Quinn is an American writer and teacher based in Washington State. She is the author of the novel The Night Child. Her writing has appeared in Psychology Today, Writer’s Digest, Medium, Washington 129 Anthology, and Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 Anthology. She is the founder of the Writers’ Workshoppe in Port Townsend, Washington. When she isn’t writing, she’s kayaking the Salish Sea or hiking in the Olympic Rainforest.
Cassandra Campbell has won multiple Audie Awards, Earphones Awards, and the prestigious Odyssey Award for narration. She was been named a “Best Voice” by AudioFile magazine and in 2018 was inducted in Audible’s inaugural Narrator Hall of Fame.