By Ralph Sassone
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374176976, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
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A powerful and compassionate debut novel about friendship and how it helps shape us into the people we are
The Intimates is a brilliant and deeply moving first novel about the varieties of romance. Spanning years and continents, beginnings and endings, it is about two gifted and striving people who discover themselves in the reflection they see in each other, and how their affinity anchors them at critical points in their lives.
Maize and Robbie are drawn to each other from the first time they meet in high school. When it becomes obvious that their relationship won’t be sexual, they establish a different kind of intimacy: becoming each other’s “human diaries.” Their passionate Friendship plays out against a backdrop of charged connections: with lovers and would be lovers, family members, teachers, and bosses. For the better part of a decade they’re inseparable fellow travelers, but ultimately they must confront the underside of the extreme and complicated closeness that has sustained them since they were teenagers.
Full of indelible characters, engrossing situations, and observations as sharply witty as they are lovely and profound, The Intimates renders the wonders and disappointments of becoming an adult, the thrills and mesmerizing illusions of sex, and the secrets we keep from others and ourselves as we struggle to locate our true character. The Intimates marks the emergence of a remarkable new voice.
Ralph Sassone has an M.F.A. from Brown University. He has written and edited for a number of publications including The New York Times, The Village Voice Literary Supplement, and Details, and he has taught writing at Brown, Haverford College, and Vassar. He lives in New York City. The Intimates is his first novel.