“Siobhan Phillips’s portrait of a stalled would-be academic is thrillingly intimate and ambitious in its scope, evoking at turns Rachel Cusk, Lynn Steger Strong’s Want, and Christine Smallwood’s The Life of the Mind. Deadpan and dread-filled, shadowed by the specters of war and late capitalism, Benefit probes both the futility and necessity of intellectual work, all in the wry, wise voice of an uncommonly clear-eyed friend.”

Jessica Winter, author of Break in Case of Emergency and The Fourth Child