Whatever You Love
By Louise Doughty
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062094667, 384pp.)
Publication Date: March 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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"I study the photo in the same way that a spy might study the face of a counterpart in a rival organization. I am calm as I make this promise: I am going to find out what you love, then whatever it is, I am going to track it down and I am going to take it away from you."
After the death of Laura's nine-year-old daughter, Betty, is ruled an accident in a hit-and-run, Laura decides to take revenge into her own hands, determined to track down the man responsible. All the while, her inner turmoil is reopening the old wounds of her passionate love affair with Betty's father, David, and his abandonment of the family for another woman.
Haunted by her past and driven to a breaking point by her thirst for retribution, Laura discovers the unforeseen lengths she is willing to go to for love and vengeance.
Louise Doughty is the author of the novels Crazy Paving, Dance with Me, Honey-Dew, Fires in the Dark, and Stone Cradle, as well as the nonfiction book A Novel in a Year, based on her popular newspaper column. She has written plays for radio and has worked widely as a critic, broadcasting regularly for BBC Radio 4. She lives in London.
“This exquisitely calibrated depiction of one mother’s grief and rage will hold you spellbound.”
“[A] pulse-quickening literary thriller.”
“A gripping and heart-wrenching novel.”
“You never wonder about character motivation; [Doughty’s] treatment of the reasons behind each event is so thorough that even the strangest circumstances become understandable.”
“Masterful. . . . This deeply psychological story, told in first person, recalls some of the best of Gothic literature. . . . But unlike Gothic fiction, love lies at the heart of this story. . . . Gorgeously structured.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
[A] fiercely nuanced novel about love and loss. . . . Reminiscent of Alina Bronsky’s Broken Glass Park, this portrait of a mother’s disintegration and gradual coming to terms with her new reality is a powerful depiction of love, loss, and retribution.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“Seldom have the subjects of love, loss, and retribution been treated with such emotional power as they are here. Award winning English author Doughty, who is intrigued by the effects of accidents, has written a masterfully structured novel that is as indelible as it is painful.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“A heartfelt and affecting story.”
“Gripping, absorbing, beautifully constructed, and written with great sensitivity.”
-Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
“Like Zoe Heller, Doughty is masterful at combining the texture of ordinary, smugly middle-class, contemporary life with the hidden cliff edges of violence and hatred.”
“An incident-packed, emotionally fraught revenge tragedy. . . . Emotionally raw, sexually frank, psychologically unpredictable.”
“A powerful portrait of loss and its psychological consequences.”
“An unflinching reckoning with sudden, unbearable loss and obsessive vengeance. . . . Both elegy and thriller. . . . Doughty’s success lies in how intimately she engages readers to face, with Laura, the dailyness of tragedy and the ways in which suffering can blind us to our culpabilities.”