"My Absolute Darling" by Gabriel Tallent

By Tallent, Gabriel

Reviewed by Julia

ISBN 9780735211186

In my entire reading experience, no book has intimidated me as much as My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. But from the moment I met protagonist Turtle Alveston, I found myself securely fastened to the arc of her story, following the powerful lead of Tallent's truly indomitable writing like a via ferrata round a dangerous mountain shrouded in blackest night. Turtle is a 14 year old girl growing up in the magnificent, tangled wilderness of the Mendocino forest and coastline, battling physical & psychological isolation under the thumb of the monstrous man she calls Daddy.  We don't see books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy or Paradise by Toni Morrison through to the finish line unless the characters are so convincingly manifested, the writing so hypnotizing in its eloquence, that the author can skillfully maneuver us through devastation and transform our shared wounding of spirit into the experience of a lifetime.  My Absolute Darling is among the ranks of such ground-breaking works.  Once I entered Turtle's world, I knew there was no turning back - I would remain by her side until the end. My resolution only grew in strength as the pages turned, until the entire day had passed from morning to night, and Tallent's gorgeously rendered warrior rose like a phoenix blazing from the darkest depths of the soul.  One of the most difficult, and beautiful books I've ever encountered. In the words of Stephen King," The word 'masterpiece' has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one."

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