Acts of Desperation, Megan Nolan (paperback Jan 2022)
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? '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.
'Such brilliant writing about female desire, co-dependant love...Incredibly honest and visceral' Marian Keyes