My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
A Novel

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At the end of this strange and remarkable book, civilisation triumphs. When we last see her, physically and spiritually broken, all Turtle can do is plant a garden in the town. This is a world beyond philosophy in which nourishment comes from nameable and tangible things.
-Guardian

Synopsis

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

"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.
 

About Gabriel Tallent

See more books from this Author
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.
Author Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah
Author Hometown: Mendocino, California
 
Published August 29, 2017 by Riverhead Books. 428 pages
Genres: Romance, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 17 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for My Absolute Darling
All: 5 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 06 2017

Ultimately, though, this is Turtle’s story, and she is a remarkable teenage hero, heavily damaged but admirably persistent. A powerful, well-turned story about abuse, its consequences, and what it takes to survive it.

Read Full Review of My Absolute Darling: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Aug 29 2017

My Absolute Darling is, very obviously, difficult to read, particularly the scenes that detail Martin's abuse. But it's also nearly impossible to put down.

Read Full Review of My Absolute Darling: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Parul Sehgal on Aug 29 2017

Tallent is a confident enough writer to leave plot strands loose, but he leaves too much psychological terrain unmapped.

Read Full Review of My Absolute Darling: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Alison Flood on Sep 05 2017

In prose as lush as the verdant California coastline on which he has set his novel, and which he clearly knows in intimate detail, Gabriel Tallent reveals the hard reality of life for Turtle Alveston.

Read Full Review of My Absolute Darling: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Lara Feigel on Aug 24 2017

At the end of this strange and remarkable book, civilisation triumphs. When we last see her, physically and spiritually broken, all Turtle can do is plant a garden in the town. This is a world beyond philosophy in which nourishment comes from nameable and tangible things.

Read Full Review of My Absolute Darling: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for My Absolute Darling
71%

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