SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD
'Crushing...intensely vital' Observer
'It's impossible to tear yourself away' The Times
'Such brilliant writing about female desire...honest and visceral' Marian Keyes
She's twenty-three and in love with love. He's older, and the most beautiful man she's ever seen. The affair is quickly consuming.
But this relationship is unpredictable, and behind his perfect looks is a mean streak. She's intent on winning him over, but neither is living up to the other's ideals. He keeps emailing his glamorous ex, and she's starting to give in to secret, shameful cravings of her own. The search for a fix is frantic, and taking a dangerous turn...
We're all looking to get what we want - but do we know what we need?
*GRAZIA BOOK CLUB PICK OF THE MONTH *
Vice contributor Nolan deconstructs a young couple's toxic relationship in her fierce and intelligent debut. Things open with an unnamed young woman catching sight of Ciaran, an art critic and "the most beautiful man had ever seen," at a Dublin art gallery in 2012. She appreciates how Ciaran seems "undeniably whole" amid a crowd of shallow social climbers. The narrator then describes their subsequent spiral into a torturous, obsessive romance. She's in her early 20s, a university dropout and aspiring poet who works in a restaurant and parties a lot. Ciaran, meanwhile, is passive-aggressive, insults the narrator's friends, makes cruel remarks ("Did you want me to say I'm falling in love with you? Because I'm not"), and carries on an ambiguous relationship with his ex. The narrator and Ciaran eventually break up, only to get back together a few months later and move in together. An idyllic glow surrounds them, until the narrator begins pushing Ciaran's boundaries, and things devolve. The story is intercut with dispatches from 2019 Athens, where the narrator tries to move toward a future without Ciaran while reflecting on the nature of vulnerability, self-loathing, and her addiction to love with stark frankness. The narrator is remarkable for her complete lack of self-pity and unflinching depictions of her own motives and needs. This mesmerizes from the first page.
Insightful and interesting
I have been lucky that I have never had to experience a toxic relationship or abuse in that regard however I feel this was an excellent insight into those experiences and what that would be like to live in. I was constantly on the edge for more and I couldn’t put it down. And incredible writer and I cannot wait for more!