Bookshop Santa Cruz presents Gabriel Tallent for a book talk and signing of his new book, My Absolute Darling, A Novel. A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since th e death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.
Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. The reader tracks Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, and watches, heart in throat, as she struggles to become her own hero–and in the process, becomes ours as well.
With remarkably striking language in a fierce natural setting, My Absolute Darling
is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.
Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his BA from Willamette University, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the backcountry of the Pacific Northwest. Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.