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I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness: A Novel (Hardcover)
“There’s some kind of genius sorcery in this novel. It’s startlingly original, hilarious and harrowing by turns, finally transcendent. Watkins writes like an avenging angel. It's thrilling and terrifying to stand in her wake.” —Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and Weather
A darkly funny, soul-rending novel of love in an epoch of collapse—one woman’s furious revisiting of family, marriage, work, sex, and motherhood.
Since my baby was born, I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things. a) As much as I ever did. b) Not quite as much now. c) Not so much now. d) Not at all. Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets her ghosts at every turn: the first love whose self-destruction still haunts her; her father, a member of the most famous cult in American history; her mother, whose native spark gutters with every passing year. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right, but what exactly is her way forward? Alone in the wilderness, at last she begins to make herself at home in the world.
Bold, tender, and often hilarious, I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness reaffirms Watkins as one of the signal writers of our time.
About the Author
Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of the novel Gold Fame Citrus and the short story collection Battleborn, winner of the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes. A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, Watkins is a professor at the University of California Irvine and lives in Twenty-nine Palms, California.
Praise for Claire Vaye Watkins:
"The most captivating voice to come out of the West since Annie Proulx -- though it's to early Joan Didion that [Watkins] bears comparison for her arid humor and cut-to-the-chase knowingness." —Vogue
"Watkins' vision . . . is mercilessly sharp. She's got a knife eye for details, a vicious talent for cutting to the throbbing vein of animal strangeness that scratches inside all of us." —NPR
"Watkins writes with a brutal kind of beauty. . . . [that] forces us to confront things we'd probably rather ignore, but because we're human, we can't." —Los Angeles Times
"The writing, with its tough sentimentality, is reminiscent of Denis Johnson's, but Watkins has a style of mordant observation all her own." —Harper's Bazaar
"Clear-eyed and nimble in parsing the lives of her Westerners, one of Watkins's strengths is not dodging that the simple fact that love can be tragic, involving, as it does, humans so flawed, so often tender and yet incapable." —The Boston Globe