My Absolute Darling
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST
NBCC JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FINALIST
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017
ONE OF THE WASHINGTON POST'S MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2017
ONE OF NPR'S 'GREAT READS' OF 2017
A USA TODAY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN AMAZON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A BUSINESS INSIDER BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
"Impossible to put down." --NPR
"A novel that readers will gulp down, gasping." --The Washington Post
"The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one." --Stephen King
A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul.
Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.
Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle's escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero--and in the process, becomes ours as well.
Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.
'There are books we like well enough to recommend, but there are a very few - To Kill a Mockingbird, Catch-22, The Things They Carried - that we remember forever. To my own shortlist I can now add My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent. Fourteen-year-old Turtle Alveston is a brilliantly rendered creation, and her father is the most terrifyingly believable human monster to inhabit the pages of a novel since Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter. This book is ugly, beautiful, horrifying, and uplifting. The word "masterpiece" has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one' Stephen King 'A gut wrenching, terrifying novel written so beautifully it sings off the page. Unlike anything I've read before. An astonishing debut' Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat 'My Absolute Darling is a searing book, one that dives headfirst into the dark side of survivalism and enforced isolation without losing sight of the fact that all the bad things that ever happen to Turtle Alveston plant the seeds for her ultimate triumph' Ryan Gattis, author of All Involved 'My Absolute Darling is an utterly fantastic read. Every page is brimming with energy. And Turtle Alveston is as enthralling a character as I've encountered in a good long while. I highly recommend this book' Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds 'My Absolute Darling is about how love, manipulated by loyalty, can change so easily to fear and violence. The writing is beautiful and vivid, while the story is brilliantly urgent, brutal and uncompromising. Like a witness to a terrible car crash, I couldn't draw my eyes away' Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days
Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his B.A. from Willamette University in 2010, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.