“Megan Nolan is a huge literary talent, and her first novel, Acts of Desperation, is a love story like no other. The writing is intense and honest, with a rare access to real life, but it is also reflective and full of insights, and with this combination the novel manages to separate the idea of love and the experience of it, and take the reader to the place where it comes into being.”
—KARL OVE KNAUSGAARD
“Megan Nolan writes with piercing vulnerability and precision. Her debut novel, Acts of Desperation is a blistering anti-romance about the seductive destruction of trying to find self-worth in the gaze of another.”—CATHERINE LACEY, author of PEW and THE ANSWERS
"I devoured this book, my heart trilling with equal parts terror and exhilaration. It is an emotional thriller, a portrait of obsession—its pleasures and powerlessness, its inevitable corruption not only of integrity, but even selfhood. Nolan's prose is cool and liquid, her content perfectly scorching. I loved this taut and torturous ode to the parts of us that persist, even as we are wrecked by love."
—MELISSA FEBOS, author of ABANDON ME and WHIP SMART
“Remarkable…This mesmerizes from the first page.”
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Starred Review)
“Nolan spins romantic obsession into literary gold…It’s no surprise that Megan Nolan’s ACTS OF DESPERATION is already being called the next Normal People…Nolan, a more bruising writer than Rooney, is also a braver one in many ways—or one with the courage, at least, to let her characters be ugly in a way that Normal rarely does….If Nolan as a novelist weren’t so deeply smart and self-aware, you might want to shake her wounded protagonist out of it. Instead there’s just the sharp kick of recognition—and sympathy.”
“Acts of Desperation charts the obsession of an unnamed narrator…with forensic focus and biting honesty.”
—THE OBSERVER, 10 Best Debut Novelists of 2021
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