Stephen King Loves Books

Stephen King Calls This Gritty Debut A Masterpiece

Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel My Absolute Darling was released on Tuesday, August 29th, and the lit world is collectively losing its mind. 


Since the suspicious drowning of her mother, fourteen year old Turtle Alveston has been isolated by her father Martin, a charismatic and sociopathic survivalist convinced the world is due for a large-scale ecological disaster. An expert markswoman already, Turtle freely roams the northern California coast for miles through woods, creeks, and tide pools, while her social existence is confined to her middle school and abusive home life. My Absolute Darling tells the story of an emotionally reserved heroine determined to save herself.


My Absolute Darling has captured all the attention the literary world has to offer.


My Absolute Darling

 Image Courtesy of WSPU


Stephen King offered his unsolicited endorsement of the novel, his blurb reading “the word ‘masterpiece’ has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one.” Considering King has a ‘guilt table‘ of books awaiting his critique, this is really something! 


King’s praise continues, “it’s a first novel and he’s got everything working. When I read it the first thing I thought was, I couldn’t do this, and I’ve been doing it for 40 years. There are books we like well enough to recommend, but there are a very few… that we remember forever. To my own shortlist I can now add My Absolute Darling, by Gabriel Tallent…This book is ugly, beautiful, horrifying, and uplifting.”


It’s not just King who is going wild for Tallent’s novel. He’s been raking in praise from all sides. Get a load of these endorsements: 


“With its unconventional heroine and unflinching portrayal of an abused girl’s fight to save herself, “My Absolute Darling” seems poised to become the breakout debut of the year,” says Alexandra Alter from the New York Times.


Phil Klay, whose story collection Redeployment won the National Book Award, described it as “one of those books where you start reading and you can’t stop. Every scene in this astonishing novel packs so much tension, so much insight, such beautiful prose and such masterful handling of detail, I simply could not stop reading.”


Celeste Ng, New York Times-bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You said it was “impossible to put down… a heartrending debut that will shock, then shake, then inspire you”.


Joanna Cannon from The Times (London) took to Twitter to followers to pick up “one of the most important books you will ever have the opportunity to read,” before going into more detail on a thread of replies. “We read for so (so) many different reasons: to be entertained, amused, intrigued, to be taken away from the place in which we find ourselves. But, for me, the most memorable – and the most valuable – stories are the ones that challenge me. This book has challenged me like no other. It’s almost certainly the darkest book I have ever read, but it was a story I COULD NOT LEAVE. It’s a masterpiece. A work of art on a page.”


“There’s no shortage of things to admire in My Absolute Darling,from NPR, calling it “a devastating and powerful debut from a writer who’s almost certain to have a wonderful career ahead of him”.


Gabriel Tallent

Image Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times


“Our generation’s next beloved literary heroine….this is one of the most important books you’ll pick up this decade.” —Harper’s Bazaar


“My Absolute Darling is a novel that readers will gulp down, gasping…Tallent [is a] prodigiously talented new writer.” —The Washington Post


“A gripping introduction to a seriously brave little girl… My Absolute Darling is an affecting read but also an important one.” — USA Today


“A major American debut that incorporates psychological realism of the highest order, juxtaposed with nature writing that at times is so lyrical, you might as well be reading poetry.” — The Houston Chronicle


“Extraordinarily unsettling and ambitious…an amazing debut.” — The San Francisco Chronicle


“Brilliant and terrifying, told in expansive, wild and bold prose…Reading this book is like watching an electrical storm, both beautiful and dangerous.” — The Minneapolis Star-Tribune


“Explosive…There are many elements of this story we would rather not believe — all so convincingly rendered that we can’t help but believe them.” — The Boston Globe


“The year’s must-read novel…Tallent in this debut makes an old story — the drama of coming of age — feel original and full of youthful power.“ — The Times (London)


The praise goes on and on and on, and we can’t wait to see what the very aptly named Tallent does next. 


Featured Image Courtesy of Prezi.