"Read this. Right now." —Brandon Taylor

"Molly Dektar can write like hell. [The Absolutes] is simply ravishing." Melissa Febos

For fans of Emma Cline and Garth Greenwell, an arresting, seductive novel about one woman’s headlong dive into a reckless affair that leaves her teetering on the edge of sanity.

“In truth, the idea of evil didn’t worry me at all. There were all these checks on it, of romance and restraint. In such a context, evil was intriguing.”

When Nora, a withdrawn American teenager, is sent to live with relatives in Turin, she meets Nicola, the enigmatic son of the most powerful aristocratic family in Italy.

Years later, the two reconnect in New York and begin a heated affair. Propelled by disorienting desire, Nora quickly becomes entangled in Nicola’s insular, menacing world of old-world luxury and family secrets. When she suspects she’s being used in a secret plot to overthrow his corrupt father, Nora willfully turns submissive to Nicola, pushing against the boundaries of her own moral limits until she finds herself spiraling on a path of self-destruction.

The Absolutes is searing, subversive examination of manipulation, obsession, and sexual desire. With unsparing intrigue and ferocity, Dektar proves herself to be one of the most ambitious writers working today.

About the author(s)

Molly Dektar is also the author of The Ash Family. A graduate of Brooklyn College’s MFA program, she is the recipient of the Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her fiction has been published in The Yale Review, n+1, Fence, Harvard Review, and The Sewanee Review. She lives in Queens.


"The deep, messy complexities of desire are on full view in The Absolutes." — Washington Post

"A gorgeous portrait of love, desire, treachery, and intellect. Dektar’s language is sensual and rich with texture, especially in details of the snowy Turin mountainside and the humming streets of New York. Like an alchemist, Dektar balances ethereal moments of intimacy with very pedestrian images of daily life. Readers will be left thinking about this mysterious, dazzling love story long after closing the back cover." — Booklist

"A Gothic tinge and carefully drawn, elite atmosphere bring to mind Donna Tartt and make Nora’s narration especially fun....The Absolutes makes a strong case for the unreliability of any narrator caught up in romantic obsession." — Observer

"The Absolutes is fantastic, a dark, utterly absorbing novel about infatuation and power. It has an elegant, headlong intensity that captures its central affair with style and grace to spare." — Andrew Martin, author of Early Work

“The Absolutes is a mesmerizing, deeply felt portrait of one woman testing the moral limits of intimacy and obsession. In continually stunning prose, Dektar brings to life a thrilling exploration of love and sexual desire.”  — Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want and Flight

"Molly Dektar can write like hell. [The Absolutes] is simply ravishing." — Melissa Febos

"Read this. Right now." — Brandon Taylor

"A tremendous, discomfiting book charged with both the volatility and indelibility of desire. With vision, courage, and distinctive sorcery, Dektar plumbs richly layered worlds of feeling; the results left me rearranged.”
Hermione Hoby, author of Virtue

"A thrilling novel about passion, obsession, and the unraveling of selfhood. Against a lush backdrop of Turin and New York, Molly Dektar skillfully tracks the path of yearning to its ultimate point of collapse. This is a dark, exciting, and wholly seductive work." — Aysegül Savas, author of White on White

"Perfect for those who like a soupçon of Wittgenstein and a dollop of Meister Eckhart with their sadomasochism." — Kirkus Reviews

"The Absolutes takes seriously the ferocity of youth, when no idea is too big, no desire too strong. In vivid prose and precise detail, Dektar evokes the dangerous magnetism that binds people together—and the even more perilous mysteries that keep them from breaking free." — Clare Sestanovich, author of Objects of Desire

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