‘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
A heartstopping, beautifully written debut, telling the story of one girl’s search for freedom.
‘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.