My Ab­so­lute Dar­ling Gabriel Tal­lent

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS -

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.

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