Love Me Tender
Constance Debre, Peter Straus, Hedi El Kholti, Holly James
‘Destined to become a classic of its kind’ Maggie Nelson
‘One of the most compulsive voices I’ve read in years’ Olivia Laing, Observer
When Constance told her ex-husband that she was dating women, he made a string of unfounded accusations that separated her from her young son, Paul. Laurent trained Paul to say he no longer wants to see his mother, and the judge believed him.
She approaches this new life with passionate intensity and the desire for an unencumbered existence, certain that no love can last. Apart from cigarettes, two regular lovers and women she has brief affairs with, Constance’s approach is monastic and military – she swims daily, reads, writes, and returns to small or borrowed rooms for the night.
A starkly beautiful account of impossible sacrifices asked from mothers, Love Me Tender is a bold novel of defiance, freedom and self-knowledge.
Committed to truth-telling, no matter how rough, but also intriguingly suspended in a cloud of unknowing and pain, Love Me Tender is a wry, original, agonizing book destined to become a classic of its kind -- Maggie Nelson A deadpan, tensile thread of a voice: calm, Camusian, comic, stark, relentless, and totally hypnotic -- Rachel Kushner Exhilarating -- Eileen Myles, author of Afterglow Love Me Tender will break your heart and repair it and break it again, but not because it's trying to. Debre writes matter of factly, fluidly, scabrously, laying bare the hypocrisies of society, of institutions, of families. It is a brutal manifesto of how to live an honest life, direct the way a laser is direct -- Lauren Elkin, author of Flaneuse In cruel, brilliant sentences that tighten around the truth like teeth, a fierce character emerges; a new kind of rebel in a queer masterpiece -- Holly Pester, author of Comic Timing Love Me Tender is a spitting, snarling tour de force of fuck-you feminist defiance. Pulling us straight from the tender moments of a mother meeting her estranged child, right into a whirlwind of lesbian pick-ups, Parisian apartment-hopping and chain smoking, Debre's novel is a stark reminder of society's suspicion towards women - particularly mothers -who resist easy definition. Wry, bold and confronting, Love Me Tender insists on a woman's right to define herself, to choose her own life -- Imogen Crimp, author of A Very Nice Girl A story that's quietly heartbreaking and fiercely defiant * Spectator * Love Me Tender is written with edge and urgency in a voice that is both vulnerable and in full command. I read it in one sitting and was taken over by its narrative energy and shocked by the story it tells -- Colm Toibin Intense... a character striving mightily for authenticity and honesty, questioning and rending the veil of social norms, acknowledging the Absurd, in hopes of finding some more solid, albeit subjective, truth -- Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl * Harper's * I am obsessed with Debre's spare account of a, both chosen and necessarily, pared-down life, that smashes the conventions of style as it smashes the conventions of family, without ever losing its tender touch -- Joanna Walsh, author of Break.up One of the most compulsive voices I've read in years ... there's undeniable pleasure to be had from the way in which she reacts, her powerful evacuation of feeling, her sense of taking an automatic rifle to her past... a vision of queer life that has nothing to do with identity or marriage or any of the new homonormative rites -- Olivia Laing * Observer * This book knocked my block off. One of a kind -- Ana Kinsella, author of Look Here A compulsive read, this is for fans of Virginie Despentes, Herve Guibert and Guillaume Dustan * AnOther magazine best books feature * Written in clear and direct prose. Fearless and honest. Hard and soft. Resolute and tough and yes very tender -- Michael Imperioli Debre's writing aims to eradicate all origins and backstories, and with them the social roles they enforce, replacing them with an ethos of radical self-fashioning ... Debre's sprezzatura writing is the literary equivalent of a shrug: a swashbuckling 'Et alors? -- Alice Blackhurst * New Left Review * Constance's voice is extremely strong - sharp, assertive, acerbic, and wholly convincing * Buzz Magazine * Love Me Tender is, without a trace of coyness, a love letter, both to a child and to a queer woman's own becoming. As for Constance - both the author and her fictional counterpart - you root for her all the way. * Guardian * Ferocious emotional honesty ... A bracing read and a timely reminder that attitudes are often far slower to change than legislation * Irish Times * Tight, present-tense prose (in a crisp translation by Holly James) ... genuinely inspiring * Financial Times * Painfully beautiful -- Christiana Spens * London Magazine *
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