I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness Summary and Reviews

I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness

A Novel

by Claire Vaye Watkins

I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins X
I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins
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  • Published Oct 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness is Claire Vaye Watkins's literary excavation of postpartum depression and the dark history of the American west; it's an interesting and ambitious project, but it's written with a feverish incoherence and the autofiction elements are overpowering." - Rachel Hullett

Other Reviews
"Reckless and defiantly intelligent, Watkins detonates the ties that bind...Incandescent writing illuminates one woman's life in flames." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A wily fusion of autobiography and imagination...[Watkins is] reckless, infuriating, ribald, incisive, and hilarious. In the spirit of Edward Abbey, Hunter Thompson, and Joy Williams, Watkins has forged a desert tale of howling pain and a chaotic quest for healing mythic in its summoning of female power in a realm of double-wides, loaded dice, broken glass, and hot springs." - Booklist (starred review)

"In this vivid if overstuffed outing from Watkins, a writer named Claire Vaye Watkins returns to her hometown of Reno for a reading...What makes this work is Claire's raw sense of pain on the page, and the evenhanded honesty with which Watkins portrays her actions. Thought Watkins overreaches, her talent is abundant." - Publishers Weekly

"The brutal, arid, electric terrain of remote California and Nevada crackles across almost every page...trippy and beautiful, slippery and seductive—a unique psycho-geography of a region that is integral to the American vision and yet seems to have too few literary chroniclers." – Vogue

"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

"This book is stupendously good. It practically vibrates in its ferocious frankness, and is so funny too that one can't help but fall for this voice, even in the pain, because of the pain, with the pain. A marvel." - Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Butterfly Lampshade

This information about I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Claire Vaye Watkins Author Biography

Photo: Lily Glass

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.

Link to Claire Vaye Watkins's Website

Name Pronunciation
Claire Vaye Watkins: Vaye rhymes with way

Other books by Claire Vaye Watkins at BookBrowse
  • Gold Fame Citrus jacket
  • Battleborn jacket
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