COVER-abandon-me

Available in the U.S. & U.K. now, paperback out in February 2018

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Praise for Abandon Me:

  • “The second set of memoirs from Melissa Febos is as absolutely riveting as the first: Composed of essays that explore the relationships that tie us all together, it’s emotionally raw and stirring in a way that will have you aching for more.” –Newsweek
  • “[Abandon Me] is both intensely intimate and wide-ranging, as she pulls together insights from sources as disparate as psychoanalyst Carl Jung, jazz singer Billie Holiday and an ancient alchemical text. Febos is voracious in her emotional cravings, but none is stronger than her desire to know and own herself. The hard-won ending (truly, a beginning) is exhilarating.” –Dawn Raffel for O Magazine
  • Abandon Me is an assemblage of lyric essays as intellectually sophisticated as they are emotionally stirring; a series of unflinching reflections and honest accounts of transformation that Febos refuses to let pass without scrutiny…Febos complicates the human desire for connection with explorations in philosophy, psychology, and accounts of historical repression that seduce readers into inhabiting her myths while resisting sentimentality by dismantling the fictions with deft intellectual probing reminiscent of the work of Maggie Nelson.” BOMB Magazine
  • “Erotic and dark, the book is a courageous exploration of love as the ultimate form of plenitude and annihilation. A lyrically visceral memoir of love and loss.” Kirkus Reviews
  • “It’s easy to fall in love with Melissa Febos’ gorgeous new memoir of short essays. Febos brings a relentless curiosity and startling intimacy to the page…With her careful observations and introspection, she transcends isolation and captures the boundless nature of human emotion. Abandon Me is a fierce exploration of love and obsession, but it is something else as well—the story of woman who is unafraid to explore the harsh truths and choices that shape our lives.” —LAMBDA Literary
  • “Anyone who’s read Febos…knows that her work explores boundaries as deftly as it defies categorization. In this new collection of essays, she once again obliterates convention with her erotically charged and intellectually astute recollections of family, relationships and the search for identity.” –Esquire
  • This unflinching, lyrical, and often crushing memoir about love and the need for connection is a must-read. As with her prior memoir, Febos’s honest examination of her own life makes for quite an aggressive personal narrative about the search for love and identity.” —The Advocate
  • “No subject is off-limits to Febos. She authorizes her reader to be braver, to dig deeper into their own secrets and to research those secrets in history…In her close reading and recording of her own life, Febos universalizes the pain of waiting…with each new piece Febos bends time.” —The Rumpus
  • “[In this] collection of self-aware, stylish, autobiographical essays on love, addiction, and inheritance, Febos harnesses language, moods, actions, and settings with precision. A professor of creative writing, she stuns with sentences that are a credit to her craft and will no doubt inspire her readers.” —Booklist
  • “Her mastery over metaphor is astonishing . . . What might be mere navel-gazing for a less brilliant author is made powerfully universal here. Though the particulars are hers, just about anyone can relate to the feeling of a chasm opening up inside. Febos’s awakening to her full identity, even its ugliness, is a powerful and redemptive epic.”        —starred review, Publishers Weekly
  • “Abandon Me proves unequivocally that there must be room in the literary canon for the complexity of women’s stories on erotic fixation and loss.” Bitch Magazine
  • Intimate and mesmerizingly vulnerable, Abandon Me is a book that gets at the heart of who we love, how we love–and why.” – Refinery29
  • “A raw, brave work about truly knowing oneself.” ­­—Library Journal
  • “Febos’s gifts as a writer seemingly increase with the types of subjects and themes that typically falter in the hands of many memoirists…Febos transports, but her lyricism is always grounded in the now, in the sweet music of loss.” – The Millions
  • Lovely, very deep essays. It’s raw and vulnerable; the writing is gorgeous. I never thought I’d like reading a whole essay about hickies, but it’s smart and surprising. If you like Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, it will be right up your alley. I was very surprised and immediately gripped from the first page by the quality of her writing and by how open she is…it’s uncommon.” —Book Riot
  • “Melissa Febos knows something about the secret threads binding pleasure and pain, the heliotropic pull of the light and the hypnotic tug of darkness…Perhaps the most striking achievement of [Abandon Me] is Febos’s treatment of the alchemy of pain. To seek pain is not evidence of an instinct for self-destruction. ‘I was not a masochist,’ Febos insists, in spite of her history of using her body like a hammer, pushing it to the boundaries of what it can endure. ‘I never wanted to die.’” —Los Angeles Review of Books
  • “Febos’s past heroin use, her birth father’s alcoholism, and the other addictions that manifest throughout Abandon Me are devastating and lyrical, but nothing compares to her “wrecking shore” of a love affair. This part of the book, which I can only critique by lamenting that it was not long enough…which is why I reread the final ten pages a dozen times…Finishing the book felt like lying in bed after sex with a new lover, hoping arms would close around me but not wanting to ask for it.” —Brooklyn Magazine
  • “Melissa Febos is a gorgeously lyrical and insightful writer…this book is a recording and reckoning of love and loss and longing, evoked in gorgeous language dripping with sensuality, hope, and pain…She expiates her pain in this book, and readers do receive it as a pretty throbbing thing, like holding someone’s heart…We recognize our own losses in hers and understand them better through her wisdom and insight. We feel relieved to see them so beautifully and viscerally rendered.” Ploughshares
  • “A desire for single-mindedness powers Febos’s artistic pursuits, but she knows that very impulse—to be not just preoccupied, but obsessed and consumed—can be destructive, too…That’s a central concern of Abandon Me, a memoir in eight connected essays. The book starts by exploring her relationship to an absent father—’abandon,’ as in left. But it’s also about another sense of the verb—’abandon,’ to give oneself recklessly and completely. From heroin addiction to romantic infatuation, the book considers forces powerful enough to inspire utter devotion, and the way that posture can both destroy and redeem.” The Atlantic
  • “The structures of the best memoirs are recursive, much as the human mind operates — a little of the present, a little of the past, and back again. But it’s a structure demanding astonishing control. Febos is a learned, lyrical writer, as well as an associative thinker…Just as a Wunderkammer’s contents fascinated in part because they objectified something fundamentally unknowable — the ancient past, the ocean depths, exotic ethnologies — Febos invites readers to examine the contents of her life. Alcoholism, drug addiction, desire, dependency, she fearlessly lays them out before us and probes them with the analytic eye of a diagnostician. And nothing does she dissect more painstakingly nor with more honesty than love.” Washington Independent
  • “Abandon Me explores love, art, and history with bracing honesty and a vibrant sense of intellectual curiosity. Weaving together a doomed love affair, family history, and difficult aspects of her past, Abandon Me is a beautifully written journey through Febos’ world.” —Buzzfeed
  • “The essays build into an interrogation of relationships, idolization, and how the author’s past intertwines with cultural history. Though the book explores bonds that Febos has with others—lovers, friends, lost and found family members—the relationship it ultimately depicts is the one that she builds with herself. It is also an origin story about creating the life of an activist, artist, teacher, and cultural theorist.” —Bookforum
  • “There is something pioneering about the way Melissa Febos talks about love, connecting it to all its binary shadows. . . . this book as a treatise on the siren call that leads us to re-stage events that have wounded us, so that we can produce a different ending, is absolutely luminous. The writing is crisp and unsettling.” —KQED Arts
  • Searing and eye-opening at every turn…a must-read.” –The Huffington Post
  • “Febos’ writing is unflinching, and her willingness to delve into her darkest corners avoids becoming overwhelming only because she handles it with strength and delicacy. Abandon Me finds the universal in her own story and taps into many people’s fears, pushing the reader to question what they might abandon themselves to or let themselves abandon.” – PASTE Magazine
  • “Abandon Me is a sonorous collection of concentric essays…Febos’ lyrical musings are intercut with astronomy, antiquity, and pop culture analyses—from Ferdinand the Bull to the musical fantasy film Labyrinth…Febos engages a process of self-discovery that confirms an exceptional skill at illuminating universal truths.” —Megan Labrise for Kirkus Reviews
  • “I’ve heard it said that memoir asks not what happened, but rather, what the f*^%* happened, and throughout Abandon Me, Febos returns again and again, in lush prose, to this question. It isn’t the answer that’s most compelling (answers seldom are). Rather, it’s the invitation Abandon Me offers the reader: to board her own ship, to hold her breath, and to leap into a dark and lyrical sea.” —Carmen Dezen Hammon for Hunger Mountain
  • “Fans of Febos’ previous memoir, Whip Smart will find Abandon Me a delicious follow-up to the salacious stories of her work as a dominatrix. Those new to her writing will be insatiable for more after digging into her new offering, which details the queer writer’s relationship to love, loss and erotic addiction.” —GO Magazine
  • In her second book, ‘Abandon Me,’ Febos examines the many loves of her life—lovers as well as family—with her distinctive blend of lush language and relentless intelligence.”                      —Jackie Thomas-Kennedy, for Publishers Weekly
  • “A frequently stunning book, dealing with questions of family, identity, and intimacy.” Vol. 1 Brooklyn
  • “Febos has established herself as a gifted writer with deep reserves of empathy and a bottomless hunger for personal truth. . . . Her prose is exciting and inviting because it feels both raw and lived in.” —Guernica
  • “[Febos is] a gorgeous writer . . . The visceral beauty of [some] scenes is matched in evocations of the sheltered Cape Cod where she grew up, its shores, lake and woodlands replete with childhood tests and dangers. Fairy tales are ribboned into the essays, as well as myth, philosophy, Jung, Rilke and pop culture mirrors such as ‘Freaks and Geeks’ — and much more.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Abandon Me doesn’t have graphic, shocking scenes like Febos’s first, instead she goes further into the messy vulnerable, human parts of herself…I devoured these pages. Curled up on my couch, I sometimes looked up as if someone might catch me in the act of crawling into her mind and living there for a while. It felt like I was being folded into her prose.” —Natassja Schiel for The Millions
  • “Abandon Me is an exploration of self-discovery. Febos’s collection of memoirs explores not only the act of abandoning, but also different types of love and growing up…Febos meditates over the concept of abandonment quite like [Leslie] Jamison meditates on the idea of empathy…sketches in staggering detail her adolescence of abandonment.” —Chicago Review of Books
  • “Febos is a talented writer with a colorful personal history.” The Washington Post
  • “Abandon Me is a sonorous collection of concentric essays…Febos’ lyrical musings are intercut with astronomy, antiquity, and pop culture analyses—from Ferdinand the Bull to the musical fantasy film Labyrinth…Febos engages a process of self-discovery that confirms an exceptional skill at illuminating universal truths.” —Megan Labrise for Kirkus Reviews
  • “Melissa Febos has made the essay into a weapon as beautiful as it is unrelenting. Intellectual, erotic, and lyrical, this book arrives at emotional truths that startle and dazzle. Febos spares no one. And who would want to be spared such ravishing?”    John D’Agata, author of About a Mountain, Halls of Fame, and editor of The Next American Essay, The Lost Origins of the Essay, and The Making of the American Essay
  • “An intricately constructed and emotionally devastating collection of essays about the appearance and disappearance of love. Febos is a strikingly talented writer who pushes at the boundaries of her form and shows us just how amazing and expansive it can be.” Jenny Ofill, author of Dept. of Speculation
  • Abandon Me is a voluptuous collection of essays about the relationship between sex and surrender, desire and addiction, vulnerability and power. Melissa Febos does not flinch from the messy feminist contradictions of romantic love: What does it mean to ‘belong’ to another? What is the line between giving yourself to a lover and losing yourself? Febos unfolds her dark romance with erotic charge and sensuous poetry. The sentences are beautiful, but so is the story — one woman’s search to understand the mysteries that shaped her, and the longing that consumes her.” Sarah Hepola, author of NYT bestselling memoir, Blackout
  • “I have never read anything like Melissa Febos’s Abandon Me. It’s rare to read a book as generous as it is genius. This is exactly what Febos has crafted. Abandon Me is, in many ways, a story about how a woman’s body and body of literature hold memory. In other ways, Abandon Me is a story about stories. Febos weaves familial stories, feminist stories, communal stories, literary stories and love stories all at once revealing much of where she’s been and where we, her readers, might go if we are. Do we dare? Are we all running away from abandonment? It makes sense that Abandon Me feels completely structurally innovative. Febos has created twenty-first century text that intimately explores addiction, pain, pleasure, uncontrollable character and the strangely joyful and terrifying nuances of abandonment. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more thankful to read a book. Abandon Me found me when I most needed it.” Kiese Laymon, author of How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and Long Division
  • “This sensuous, spirited collection may be called Abandon Me, but it’s really a study in running headlong toward intimacy. Whether she’s exploring the love of family, of words, of drugs, of lovers or even of love itself, Melissa Febos is a font of both emotional and intellectual honesty. The result is a powerful, poignant meditation on not only the pain of loss but also the maddening, intoxicating, confusing and exhilarating effects of true human closeness.” Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects Of Discussion & My Misspent Youth
  • “Melissa Febos is the anthropologist and critic, the learned, dispassionate observer and the passionate advocate of her body’s passage through time, space, and the woes and pleasures of contact with other humans. She brings in these essays an almost child-like wonder to her life on earth, which has often been extreme and has always been dramatic, while at the same time expressing that wonder by means of a sophisticated, self-aware narrative frame. I found myself while reading this book experiencing on the one hand a detached aesthetic delight and on the other an intense desire to know what happens next. It is a wonderful achievement on her part to excite so many and various responses, and it reflects a really extraordinary range of both experience and understanding.” Vijay Seshadri, author of 3 Sections, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize
  • “Abandon Me is riveting and heartbreaking and tough and passionate and beautiful and original; the final essay is a tour de force. Melissa Febos weaves the personal and the universal together, sex and family, love and violence, addiction and alienation, art and pain, into a provocative, brilliant, incredibly moving examination of power and identity.” Kate Christensen, author of The Great Man, The Astral, Blue Plate Special, & How to Cook A Moose
  • “Melissa Febos is a deep, broad and fearless thinker who manages to be as vulnerable on the page as she is smart.  These eight hard fought, hard won, endlessly compelling and ultimately elegant essays teach us that our traumas are not isolate, but in constant conversation with each other, and promise that if we listen carefully to their steady murmuring, we might find the means and the power to heal our lives.” Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted and Cowboys Are My Weakness
  • “This book made me feel more than I was prepared to about desire and identity, as though it were an exquisite vivisection of what we politely call “falling in love.” Febos’ Abandon Me is extraordinarily written and unflinchingly bold.” Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of the NYT bestselling memoirs Pastrix and Accidental Saints
  • “No one tells it like Melissa Febos. Sensual, lyrical, raw, brave, and honest, Abandon Me is simply gorgeous.” Ann Hood, NYT best-selling author of Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, The Red Thread, The Obituary Writer, & An Italian Wife