My Absolute Darling Gabriel Tallent
FICTION Fourth Estate, 432 pages, €11.40
This debut novel from Gabriel Tallent garnered much praise when it was first published last August.
The story centres on Turtle Alveston, a semi-feral child who lives with her paranoid survivalist father on northern California’s rugged coastline.
Her mother is dead and although she attends school, hers is a largely isolated existence. Turtle’s world revolves around her father, Marty, but this is no cosy father-daughter narrative. At the core of the pair’s relationship is Marty’s sexual abuse of his young daughter.
While you may well devour this gripping novel in one sitting, even with its cathartic conclusion, My Absolute Darling is anything but an easy read.
A harrowing, bleak and deeply affecting book.