Readers’ Books will present a late evening gathering with author Gabriel Tallent as he introduces the paperback release of his bestselling novel ‘My Absolute Darling’ at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 16.
Tallent’s debut work has garnered national acclaim, from National Public Radio (NPR) to the New York Times to the BBC to author Stephen King who ensures readers, “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.”
Named as a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard award and the Los Angeles Times 2017 Book prize, “My Absolute Darling” was also chosen as the September Indie Next List pick, as well as Readers’ Books number one staff pick.
Set rurally, in Mendocino County, “My Absolute Darling” surrounds the battered, yet beautiful life of 14-year-old Turtle Alveston. Suffering from Stockholm syndrome, Turtle fiercely navigates a physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive relationship with her widowed father after the passing of her mother by a curious drowning some years ago. She finds fleeting refuge and reprieve through immersion in the limitless expanse of nearby forest, ultimately meeting two high school boys there, developing a crush on one of them, and pursuing emancipation from the chaos of her house that is, in no way, a home. As the novel progresses, Turtle unmistakably prevails as a legendary literary heroine; As Parul Sehgal proclaims, “Turtle is a staunchly American type, perhaps the American type — tough, taciturn and almost pathologically self-sufficient.” Will she stay on land and drown, as her mother did, or will she transfigure the name bestowed upon her by her father, plunge into the watery depths of the unfamiliar and swim toward something more profound, as is only natural for a turtle in the wild?
Tallent is originally from New Mexico, but was raised predominantly in Mendocino by two mothers. He studied at Willamette University in 2010. Following graduation, Tallent returned to what he knew, running for the woods, so to speak, and leading youth on trails in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.
This is Tallent’s debut novel and his first time reading in Sonoma.