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Abandon Me: A Memoir (Bloomsbury)
In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment.
Now in Abandon Me: Memoirs Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection—with family, lovers, and oneself. In this hugely personal exploration, Febos illuminates the experiences of infatuation, craving, and desperation as well as those of love, satisfaction, and hope. “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,” wrote Carl Jung, “but by making the darkness visible.” Abandon Me offers readers moments both tender and raw, generating an impossible-to-ignore urge to examine our own intimate experiences and how those have shaped us.
Febos’s birth father left her only with an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood. As Febos tentatively reconnects with him, she sees how both of these legacies manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of her all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession—and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another.
At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal.
Praise for Abandon Me
“Her mastery over metaphor is astonishing . . . Febos's awakening to her full identity, even its ugliness, is a powerful and redemptive epic.”—starred review, Publishers Weekly
“Erotic and dark, [Abandon Me] is a courageous exploration of love as the ultimate form of plenitude and annihilation. A lyrically visceral memoir of love and loss.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Self-aware, stylish, autobiographical essays . . . Febos harnesses language, moods, actions, and settings with precision . . . she stuns with sentences that are a credit to her craft and will no doubt inspire her readers.” —Booklist
“Searing and eye-opening at every turn, this memoir will be a must-read.” —27 Nonfiction Books By Women Everyone Should Read This Year, Huffington Post
“Exploring and analyzing, layer by layer, why we love who we love, and the connections, however tenuous, that bind us together.” —2017 Books We're Most Excited About Right Now, Refinery29
“Febos’s gifts as a writer seemingly increase with the types of subjects and themes that typically falter in the hands of many memoirists . . . [She] transports, but her lyricism is always grounded in the now, in the sweet music of loss.” —Most Anticipated 2017, The Millions
“I can’t wait to read Abandon Me by Melissa Febos.” —Roxane Gay
Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Whip Smart. Her work has been widely anthologized and appears in publications including the Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Glamour, Guernica, Post Road, Tin House, Salon, the New York Times, the Rumpus, and Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, and her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, and the Center for Women Writers. The recipient of an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, she is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Monmouth University and M.F.A. faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and serves on the Board of Directors of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. The daughter of a sea captain and a psychotherapist, she was raised on Cape Cod and lives in Brooklyn.
Melissa Broder is the author of the essay collection So Sad Today (Grand Central, 2016) as well as four collections of poems including Last Sext (Tin House, 2016). Her first novel, The Pisces, will be out from Hogarth / Crown in 2018. She has columns at VICE and Elle, and lives in Venice, CA.
Photo by Deborah Feingold