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Publisher's Summary

Reeling from a failed marriage, Sheila, a 20-something playwright, finds herself unsure of how to live and create. When Margaux, a talented painter and free spirit, and Israel, a sexy and depraved artist, enter her life, Sheila hopes that through close - sometimes too close - observation of her new friend, her new lover, and herself, she might regain her footing in art and life.

Using transcribed conversations, real emails, plus heavy doses of fiction, the brilliant and always innovative Sheila Heti crafts a work that is part literary novel, part self-help manual, and part bawdy confessional. It's a totally shameless and dynamic exploration into the way we live now, which breathes fresh wisdom into the eternal questions: What is the sincerest way to love? What kind of person should you be?

©2012 Sheila Heti (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Brutally honest and stylistically inventive, cerebral, and sexy." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Heti Succeeds by Writing What She Knows

Recommended for every artist, every woman and everyone who wants something more for themselves- something that takes work and thought. Heti knows how to "Write what you know," and does it with grace, grit and insight. Because the story and characters are authentically her own, her writing succeeds at being flawlessly experimental, original and informative. I want to savor this book again and again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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The Worst Language and Story Line

How did a book like this get published? The language in this book is appalling and the dream scenes are disturbing!

Also the voiceover artist was really difficult to follow. Her voice was annoying and without proper inflection. Her efforts to do other voices was unsuccessful.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Raw, bold, and deep.

I loved this story so much, I'm going to have to purchase it in print. I struggled at first with the formatting of the book, but once I got the hang of it, I was able to enjoy it seamlessly. I found the story to be empowering, brave, and raw. I feel like it was left to the reader to interpret the significance of each scene, and for me, it offered many opportunities for introspection. The characters were thoughtful, philosophical, curious, and intellectuals without pretense. It's a modern story attempting to tackle some of humanity's timeless questions and I feel like it did well with such a grand task. I also appreciated the narrator's attempt at setting different tones for different character's voices. I will be recommending this book for sure, but not to everyone. It's a story everyone should hear, but not one that everyone will understand its depth. I am grateful to the author for writing it, it was the exact quality of thought provoking material I've been in search of lately.

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  • Deborah
  • AUSTIN, TX, United States
  • 11-24-18

Not the next Henry Miller

A semi-autobiographical tale of narcissistic artists tortured by self-doubt and drawn to degrading and joyless sex. . . hmm, where I have heard this before? Heti's musings on the meaning of life show a modicum of talent though not tremendous originality. But her depictions of sex push the book from the merely less than great into the realm of the unreadable. If you're going to describe disgusting sex, you'd better do a really great job of it, because you're playing a pretty heavy burden on the reader. Heti's sex scenes are repetitious both in content and language and pretty much interminable. I gave up half-way through the book. I do love Miller- maybe it's time to try Anais Nin.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful