Omega Farm: A Memoir

Available for Pre-Order. Releases September 12, 2023.

A long-awaited memoir from an award-winning novelist—a candid, riveting account of her complicated, bohemian childhood and her return home to care for her ailing mother.

Early Praise for Omega Farm: A Memoir

A writer returns to the storied rural home where she was raised.

In her first memoir, McPhee, a novelist and fiction instructor, recounts her move, along with her husband and two teenage children, from New York City to the New Jersey farm where she had lived with her mother, stepfather, four sisters, and five stepsiblings. In March 2020, she felt the need “to shelter-in-place with my ailing mother,” who had “vanished into dementia.” The property, on 45 acres near the border with Pennsylvania, was in a state of disrepair. As McPhee began a series of increasingly involved home improvement projects—e.g., the eradication of stink bugs, the correction of some creative plumbing work—she confronted, piece by piece, a childhood that was unconventional and chaotic amid a family that prized adventure above all else, sometimes at the expense of its youngest members. Her mother, who was “raised to be beautiful—not smart,” encouraged her “four McPhee daughters” to love their stepfather, a charismatic dreamer and unlicensed Gestalt therapist who often met his clients naked in the indoor pool at the farm. An attempt to remove invasive bamboo on the property revealed the need for an expensive new septic system, and McPhee began to consider felling the ash trees in the property’s 35-acre forest to recoup the loss. This led her to the much larger project of managing the forest, a massive undertaking that involved replanting the understory and engaging a management hunter to cull sapling-eating deer. 

McPhee is a captivating writer, gracefully weaving together the disparate strands of familial reckoning, the eerie pandemic years, and her evolving understanding of forest ecology. One of the book’s many strengths is the author’s ability to see herself clearly: The passages in which she narrates her own bad behavior are fascinating, which is rare in the memoir genre.

– Starred Kirkus Review | Read More

Sharply observed, beautifully written, and blazingly honest, Omega Farm is the memoir I didn’t know to hope for – one that endeavors to make sense of that alien period around the pandemic when families reconfigured to shelter together. In this intimate family portrait, Martha McPhee returns to her childhood home where she’s forced to confront a dark past while contending with a demanding present: a failing mother, an unhappy son, and a house and orchard in utter disarray. The book is a marvel, deftly telling the story of how we find out who we are, and what calls us to transcend.  

– Adrienne Brodeur, author of the best selling memoir WILD GAME and the forthcoming novel LITTLE MONSTERS

A hypnotic and moving tale about a daughter’s determination to  restore the run-down family farm and forest of her idyllic, utopian childhood, only to be haunted by family secrets and memories she cannot undo.  With grit and determination, Martha McPhee explores the hurts that define us, and the love that sustains.


Martha’s McPhee’s Omega Farm, set against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the small family forest where she took shelter, manages to capture the trauma of childhood while also finding love, and healing. I will carry this story of her chaotic, vibrant beginning for a long time.

– Mary Beth Keane, author of best selling ASK AGAIN, YES and THE HALF MOON

A beautiful, brutal tale of one woman’s reckoning with her childhood and awakening to the world around her. Immersive and unforgettable.

– Joanna Rakoff, author of best selling memoir MY SALINGER YEAR

More about Omega Farm: A Memoir