My Absolute Darling

My Absolute DarlingMy Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Here is the problem with My Absolute Darling.

Yes, the writing is beautiful. Northern California is wonderfully evoked. The survivalist stuff sounds cool.

But here is the problem: It is a balletic, orgiastic symphony of violence. You can write books about violence, you can read books about violence, totally fine, I’m opposed to censorship, etc. But my personal complaint is that the story revels in its violence. It gives more time, care, and loving attention to detail to Turtle’s torture and pain than it does to her interior life. The point of the book is the violence. The author would probably tell you it’s about survival–it’s not. Survival is at best a secondary interest.

Books obviously don’t have to be about good things happening to good people, or bad things happening to bad people. Books don’t “have” to be about anything. They also don’t have to be about violence in and of itself.

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