Gabriel Tallent does not play it easy or safe in his powerful, sometimes horrific, cathartic debut novel, My Absolute Darling (Riverhead). The 14-year-old heroine at the heart and soul of this book, set mostly along the northern California coast Turtle Alveston, is one of the most memorable, indomitable characters in recent fiction. This book’s setting, its people, its moods, its haunting actions, its acts of spirit and connection, are all vivid.
“I read My Absolute Darling in one sitting … the book is that impossible to put down. Gabriel Tallent depicts Turtle’s battle for her independence–body, mind, and soul–with brutal honesty and overwhelming tenderness. The result is a heartrending debut that will shock, then shake, then inspire you.” —Celeste Ng.
“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