Eighteen-year-old Natalie has just arrived at her first year of university in Toronto, leaving her remote, forested hometown for the big, impersonal city. She meets Nora, an older woman who takes an unexpected interest in her, and is drawn unstoppably into Nora's orbit. She begins spending more and more of her time at Nora's perfect, tidy home in her beautiful, quiet world. Her obsession deepens, even as she comes to suspect Nora is hiding something. As the secrets multiply and the intensity of the romance threatens to overwhelm her, Natalie realizes that the new, adult identity she had imagined for herself is far from the one she's actually coming to know.
Through Natalie’s subtle but vivid narration, Fischer powerfully evokes the all-consuming force of a relationship confined to a private universe ... The Adult is delicate in navigating Nora and Natalie’s various imbalances — age, power, wealth, experience ... While...brimming tension almost makes The Adult an understated thriller, the novel’s quieter intrigue exists in the articulation — or disarticulation — of the awakening of queer desire.