My Absolute Darling

Gabriel Tallent

‘You think you’re invincible. You think you won’t ever miss. We need to put the fear on you. You need to surrender yourself to death before you ever begin, and accept your life as a state of grace, and then and only then will you be good enough.’

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall;
That chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it;
That her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.

She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school;
Why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see;
Why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done
And what her daddy will do when he finds out …

Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.
Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.
Sometimes surviving isn’t enough.

Reviews of My Absolute Darling

  • ‘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 … The word “masterpiece” has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one’ Stephen King

    ‘If you liked Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, you’ll love thisDaily Mail

    ‘A powerful tale with a howitzer of a heroine and a plethora of extraordinary scenes’ TLS

    ‘A heartrending debut that will shock, then shake, then inspire you’ Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

    An outstanding book that could be this year’s A Little LifeGuardian

    My Absolute Darling is an absolute triumph’ National

    ‘The writing is beautiful and vivid, while the story is brilliantly urgent, brutal and uncompromising’ Claire Fuller, author of Our Endless Numbered Days

    ‘Tallent’s breathtaking debut is a harrowing and at times psychologically difficult journey on the scale of A Little Life or The Goldfinch, but it’s worth it . . . a true inspirationHarper’s Bazaar

    ‘Once a year – certainly no more – along comes a special novel that turns its readers into literary holy rollers. A couple of years ago it was Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Before that Ferrante fever. This year, I suspect it will be My Absolute DarlingThe Times

    ‘This is a compelling and unsettling novel that sucks you into its darkly warped world and doesn’t let go until the last page … powerful, violent, savage and quite brilliantDaily Express

    ‘A gut wrenching, terrifying novel written so beautifully it sings off the page’ Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

    ‘This is a bloody, brutal tale, but also an incredibly beautiful one’ Emerald Street