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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?
© Megan Nolan 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
Please believe the hype . . . 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.
Deeply felt and seriously, spikily intelligent . . . The millennial author everyone should be watching right now.
Tapping into the zeitgeist comes one of the books of 2021: Megan Nolan's Acts of Desperation . . . a heartbreaking-but-resonating portrait of one woman's savage mistreatment of herself in the name of love.
There is so much to admire in this extremely impressive first novel, which captures an intense experience with clarity and style. It is fully itself, and flawless in its way.
Nigh-on impossible not to devour.
2021 was a year of brilliant new voices in fiction. Here, we look back on five of Vintage’s most exciting debut novels of the year – you don’t want to have missed them.
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