Acts of Desperation
*A NEW STATESMAN, OBSERVER, IRISH TIMES, i AND STYLIST BOOK OF 2021*
‘Please believe the hype … a seriously exciting writer’ Sunday Times
‘Such brilliant writing about female desire… honest and visceral’ Marian Keyes
Discover this bitingly honest, darkly funny debut novel about a toxic relationship and secret female desire, from an emerging star of Irish literature.
Love was the final consolation, would set ablaze the fields of my life in one go, leaving nothing behind. I thought of it as a force which would clean me and by its presence make me worthy of it. There was no religion in my life after early childhood, and a great faith in love was what I had cultivated instead. Oh, don’t laugh at me for this, for being a woman who says this to you. I hear myself speak.
Even now, even after all that took place between us, I can still feel how moved I am by him. Ciaran was that downy, darkening blond of a baby just leaving its infancy. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. None of it mattered in the end; what he looked like, who he was, the things he would do to me. To make a beautiful man love and live with me had seemed – obviously, intuitively – the entire point of life. My need was greater than reality, stronger than the truth, more savage than either of us would eventually bear. How could it be true that a woman like me could need a man’s love to feel like a person, to feel that I was worthy of life? And what would happen when I finally wore him down and took it?
‘The millennial author everyone should be watching right now’ Daily Telegraph
‘A dark, intense account of an obsessive love affair. It’s great on the elation of falling in love and then its flip side, the anxiety, fixation and self-doubt. A really fine debut’ David Nicholls
‘As disarmingly relatable as it is moving’ Stylist
Please believe the hype . . . Nolan is not another Sally Rooney. She is another seriously exciting writer who happens to be young and female and Irish . . . Nolan's book describes a very particular experience and it does so with rare intelligence and courage . . . [her] headlong, fearless prose feels like salt wind on cracked lips. You wince and you thrill. * Sunday Times * Nigh-on impossible not to devour * Daily Mail * Deeply felt and seriously, spikily intelligent... The millennial author everyone should be watching right now. * Daily Telegraph * Acts of Desperation . . . ruthlessly peels back the ego to expose the soul's most discomfiting corners . . . [and] illuminates the fragile tension between power and desire. * Evening Standard * It's impossible to tear yourself away . . . This is more than simple victimhood. This is a hard frank look at something uglier and more discomforting . . . I couldn't stop reading Acts of Desperation. * The Times * This is an incredible debut . . . Poignant, poetic, raw and utterly unique - I couldn't stop reading. Pre-order it now. -- Pandora Sykes Oh my god! Such brilliant writing about female desire, co-dependant love, the ownership that's taken of female bodies and how it corrupts our relationship to them. I identified hugely. Incredibly honest and visceral. -- Marian Keyes Megan Nolan is a huge literary talent, and her first novel is a love story like no other. -- Karl Ove Knausgaard Remarkable . . . a stunning meditation on the ways in which society moulds female desire . . . Lyrical and raw, Acts of Desperation is a vital intervention into the genre. * The Skinny * Acts of Desperation charts the obsession of an unnamed narrator with a cold, beautiful man named Ciaran with forensic focus and biting honesty. * Observer *
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