Publication Date: 04/05/2023 ISBN: 9781787704640 Category:

Acts of Service

Lillian Fishman

Publisher: Europa Editions (UK) Ltd
Publication Date: 04/05/2023 ISBN: 9781787704640 Category:
Paperback / Softback


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“A bold, promising debut.” MARY GAITSKILL *** “Thoughtful, savage” RAVEN LEILANI *** “Radical, daring and bracing” SHEILA HETI

If sex is a truth-teller, Eve-a young, queer woman in Brooklyn-is looking for answers. On an evening when she is feeling particularly impulsive, she posts some nude photos of herself online. This is how Eve meets Olivia, and through Olivia, the charismatic Nathan-and soon the three begin a relationship that disturbs Eve as much as it delights her. As each act of the affair unfolds, Eve is left to ask: to whom is she responsible? And to what extent do our desires determine who we are?

In the way that only great fiction can, Acts of Service takes between its teeth the contradictions written all over our ideas of sex and sexuality. As incisive as it is exhilarating, this novel asks us to face our ideas about desire and power: what sex means to us, the forces that shape it, and how we find-or lose-ourselves in intimacy. At once juicy and intellectually challenging, sacred and profane, it might be the most thought-provoking book you read all year.

Publisher Review

"[An] extraordinary debut novel, Acts of Service, [is] a work of ferocious moral and sensual intelligence and a masterly defence of sex for its own sake." * The Guardian * "Acts of Service is a stylish, elegant piece of provocation that is also as sincere and searching as its heroine. Even if it pisses you off, it's hard not to keep turning the pages. It's a bold, promising debut." * Mary Gaitskill * "An exhilarating and memorable literary exploration of sex and power dynamics." * British Vogue * "One of the most searching and enthralling novels about human attraction and connection that I've read in many years. Part erotic Bildungsroman, part melancholy comedy of manners, it arrives with quiet confidence and a fully formed bank of ideas about intimacy, sexual ethics and contemporary mores that Fishman could go on exploring for years to come." -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * The New Statesman * "Both insanely erotic and intellectually challenging, one of those books we never wanted to end." * COSMOPOLITAN * "A fabulous debut." * Independent * "This one had me hooked from the first's heady, exhilarating, and will change the way you look at the world. The perfect read for fans of Raven Leilani and Ottessa Moshfegh, this is a book that will have people talking." * BuzzFeed * "A young woman follows her exhibitionist streak to uncharted new territory in this bold and unflinchingly sexy novel, engaging in a three-way sexual relationship that teaches her more than she could have imagined about her own desire." * VOGUE * "I was completely absorbed by this radical, daring and bracing novel about a so-cold and yet so-intimate world where safety and pleasure can only be found in the most unlikely and unpredictable of places. It is a book of exciting, provocative complexity, and, for me, it made the human creature feel like something new." * Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood and Pure Colour * "Acts of Service doesn't kiss you first; it gets right to it-depicting the liquid frequencies of need and power with a thoughtful, savage eye." * Raven Leilani, author of Luster * "Reading 'Acts of Service' I felt the uncanny sensation of being in the presence of its narrator, observing me as I tore through its pages. Fishman's Eve, heir to Eve Babitz, makes us complicit in her interrogation of desire with an erotic, cerebral, subversive and tormenting tale, a reckoning formed in the cracks between certainties, like the cooling magma that rises between tectonic plates; between voyeurism and complicity, intimacy and alienation, the body and the mind." * Olivia Sudjic, author of Sympathy and Asylum Road * "A book of exquisite moral refinement and almost intimidating elegance." * Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story and States of Desire * "Taut, thorny, and sublimely fraught, Acts of Service stares straight into the white-hot center of desire with a cool, incisive eye. This book is electric." * Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun * "Disturbing, erotic, completely compulsive; quickeningly captivating, provocative in ways that I am still turning over." * Lucy Caldwell, author of These Days * "Seamlessly written, sedate and subtle and so pleasurable, and quite enrapturing on a psychological level. This book opens space for a new kind of precision and intelligence that gives the amoral opulence of desire its rightful place." * Niamh Campbell, author of This Happy and We Were Young * "Lillian Fishman is not just a brilliant writer-she's a brilliant feeler, a great thinker. She has the gift we open books for." * David Lipsky, author of The Art Fair * "With deep eroticism and stunning prose, Lillian Fishman explores sex and the self with delicious seriousness and sensuality. I didn't want it to end." * Saskia Vogel, author of Permission * "I cannot recall the last time I felt this exhilarated and transformed by a novel. Acts of Service electrified both my mind and body. How can a story feel so smart and carnal at once? Lillian Fishman writes exquisitely about desire, pleasure, life with shattering clarity." * Sanae Lemoine, author of The Margot Affair * "An evocative exploration of desire and sexuality." * Kirkus Reviews * "Smooth and smart." * Publishers Weekly * "Fishman's coming-of-age story isn't only about sex. Using sex as a road map, Eve is searching to understand her own inner workings as a young woman. While writing Acts of Service, Fishman kept returning to a simple idea: We tend to love what disturbs us, if we are willing to follow our desires and take the risk." * Interview Magazine * "Ottessa Moshfegh's urban malaise meets Raven Leilani's loquacious eroticism in this provocative novel." * Electric Literature *

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