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Tender: A Novel
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Published:
Little, Brown and Company 2016
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Description
A searing novel about longing, intimacy, and obsession from the award-winning author of Solace.
When they meet in Dublin in the late nineties, Catherine and James become close as two friends can be. She is a sheltered college student, he an adventurous, charismatic young artist. In a city brimming with possibilities, he spurs her to take life on with gusto. But as Catherine opens herself to new experiences, James's life becomes a prison; as changed as the new Ireland may be, it is still not a place in which he feels able to truly be himself. Catherine, grateful to James and worried for him, desperately wants to help — but as time moves on, and as life begins to take the friends in difference directions, she discovers that there is a perilously fine line between helping someone and hurting him further. When crisis hits, Catherine finds herself at the mercy of feelings she cannot control, leading her to jeopardize all she holds dear.
By turns exhilarating and devastating, Tender is a dazzling exploration of human relationships, of the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we are taught to tell. It is the story of first love and lost innocence, of discovery and betrayal. A tense high-wire act with keen psychological insights, this daring novel confirms Belinda McKeon as a major voice in contemporary fiction, joining the ranks of the masterful Edna O'Brien and Anne Enright.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/16/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316265515
ASIN:
B014E0E9SK
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Belinda McKeon. (2016). Tender: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Belinda McKeon. 2016. Tender: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Belinda McKeon, Tender: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Belinda McKeon. Tender: A Novel. Little, Brown and Company, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:36:58
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:41:15
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      • bioText: Belinda McKeon's debut novel, Solace, won the 2012 Faber Prize, was voted Irish Book of the Year, and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Her essays and journalism have been published in the Paris Review, the New York Times, the Guardian, and elsewhere. Her plays have been produced in Dublin and New York, and she has been under commission to the Abbey Theatre. McKeon was also a nominee for the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction post. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Rutgers University.
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shortDescription
A searing novel about longing, intimacy, and obsession from the award-winning author of Solace.
When they meet in Dublin in the late nineties, Catherine and James become close as two friends can be. She is a sheltered college student, he an adventurous, charismatic young artist. In a city brimming with possibilities, he spurs her to take life on with gusto. But as Catherine opens herself to new experiences, James's life becomes a prison; as changed as the new Ireland may be, it is still not a place in which he feels able to truly be himself. Catherine, grateful to James and worried for him, desperately wants to help — but as time moves on, and as life begins to take the friends in difference directions, she discovers that there is a perilously fine line between helping someone and hurting him further. When crisis hits, Catherine finds herself at the mercy of feelings she cannot control, leading her to jeopardize all she holds dear.
By turns exhilarating and...
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title
Tender
fullDescription
A searing novel about longing, intimacy, and obsession from the award-winning author of Solace.
When they meet in Dublin in the late nineties, Catherine and James become close as two friends can be. She is a sheltered college student, he an adventurous, charismatic young artist. In a city brimming with possibilities, he spurs her to take life on with gusto. But as Catherine opens herself to new experiences, James's life becomes a prison; as changed as the new Ireland may be, it is still not a place in which he feels able to truly be himself. Catherine, grateful to James and worried for him, desperately wants to help — but as time moves on, and as life begins to take the friends in difference directions, she discovers that there is a perilously fine line between helping someone and hurting him further. When crisis hits, Catherine finds herself at the mercy of feelings she cannot control, leading her to jeopardize all she holds dear.
By turns exhilarating and devastating, Tender is a dazzling exploration of human relationships, of the lies we tell ourselves and the lies we are taught to tell. It is the story of first love and lost innocence, of discovery and betrayal. A tense high-wire act with keen psychological insights, this daring novel confirms Belinda McKeon as a major voice in contemporary fiction, joining the ranks of the masterful Edna O'Brien and Anne Enright.
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
      • content: Tender combines the urge to escape the ordinary of Brideshead Revisited with the tormented devotion of McEwan's Enduring Love. It is chilling, gorgeous, and profoundly insightful about the very human urge to wreck oneself on the shoals of a great ambition.
      • premium: False
      • source: Robin Black, author of Life Drawing
      • content: Utterly exquisite, unflinchingly observed, Tender is the story of a specific obsessive love, but also the story of youth itself, the blinding needs of heart and body, the illusion that one can change reality to suit one's desires—just by wanting to enough. McKeon's intelligence and insight shine through every page, and the words themselves perform miracles of revelation as they dance from one sentence to the next.
      • premium: False
      • source: Nick Laird, author of To a Fault
      • content: Tender is compelling and deeply affecting: McKeon's prose describes the calibrations of emotions wonderfully, and the novel is great on friendship, on art, on being young and in love... I read it in a day.
      • premium: False
      • source: Jenny Offill, bestselling author of Dept. of Speculation
      • content: A perceptive, unexpectedly moving novel about friendship and love and all the heart-stopping moments in between.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Guardian
      • content: Richly nuanced and utterly absorbing.
      • premium: False
      • source: John Boyne, The Irish Times
      • content: Tender is the best Irish novel I've read since The Spinning Heart, a work rich with wisdom, truth and beauty. There are no gimmicks, no deliberately eccentric characters and no wildly overblown prose masquerading as poetry. Reading it, the novelist that came to mind time and again was Anne Tyler, one of the greatest storytellers alive, whose characters arrive on the page like human beings, things happen to them, they react to these things, and then life continues. I can scarcely think of higher praise than to say that Belinda McKeon could be our Anne Tyler. There is simply not a false note anywhere in Tender.
      • premium: False
      • source: Fiona Wilson, The Times (UK)
      • content: McKeon is a superb and sophisticated writer, who captures the barely articulable feelings between young people on the brink of adulthood.
      • premium: False
      • source: Heidi Julavits, author of The Folded Clock
      • content: Belinda McKeon writes like a dream, and Tender proves that she belongs among the most revered novelists working today.
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus, Starred Review
      • content: McKeon...captures something essential about friendship, vulnerability, love, and longing. As it explores the push-pull of this achingly intimate, increasingly obsessive relationship-the way James and Catherine attract and repel each other as if they were two strong magnets turned this way and that-the story throbs with the tension between them.... McKeon regards the characters in her keenly wrought love story-for all their flaws and fragility-with insight, sensitivity, and a compassion that proves contagious.
      • premium: False
      • source: Financial Times
      • content: This carefully constructed tale of loss and betrayal thrums with sadness, danger, and the dizzying desire to possess.
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist, starred review
      • content: McKeon follows her much praised debut with a fever dream of friendship, love, and obsession that is as emotionally raw as it is artfully crafted.
      • premium: False
      • source: Travel and Leisure
      • content: A dreamy and absorbing story ...McKeon's novel is rife with psychological insights and truths large and small about the betrayals and passion between friends.
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times Book Review
      • content: Dark spirits inform the frantic heart at the center of Tender, Belinda...
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 14, 2015
        At first glance, McKeon’s second work of fiction (after Irish Book of the Year–winner Solace) explores well-trod themes. Two college-aged youngsters in Dublin meet through mutual acquaintances, develop a friendship, and experience much elation and angst over the course of a year together in the late 1990s. But as the raw and claustrophobic story progresses, it becomes devastatingly clear that the path their relationship is taking is far from ordinary. For one, budding photographer James is gay and closeted, during a time when homosexuality isn’t widely accepted in Ireland. His anguish and frustration at not being able to love freely is deftly handled by McKeon, who mostly relies on what isn’t said to lend weight to his predicament. Instead, what propels the plot forward is the sheer force of Catherine’s blind love for James. She wants all of him, first emotionally, and then physically—a wrinkle that adds depth to the friends’ tragic coupling and makes their breaking apart so easy to predict and so heartbreaking to read. Catherine’s self-destructive obsession with James may verge on maddening for readers (though the author’s choice to saddle her with an interest in Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters, written about Sylvia Plath and published in 1998, was a smart one). But the book’s final chapters, detailing the older and wiser friends’ bittersweet reunion in New York 14 years later, proves that time does heal the heart’s deepest wounds—or, as McKeon so aptly demonstrates, at least most of them.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from December 1, 2015
        In McKeon's exquisite second novel, two Dublin young people--poet and student Catherine and aspiring art photographer James--tumble into a friendship that, though its lines shift and blur, ultimately helps bring their identities into focus. From almost the first moment they meet, Catherine and James are inseparable. They talk on the phone for hours and write long letters to each other when they're apart, walk arm in arm, and share a special common language when they're together. Although Catherine, still adjusting to life at university and away from her rural childhood home, is studying art history and English, James, who also grew up outside the city and is just back from a stint working as an assistant to a well-known photographer in Berlin, seems (to her, at least) to know far more about, well, everything than she. With James, Catherine learns to be bold and take risks--intellectual, emotional, physical. James, too, finds a path to himself and to his future. But as their relationship, tracked over the course of a little more than a year, in 1997-'98, becomes increasingly complex and weightier and takes on new dimensions, it begins to fracture. McKeon, whose debut novel, Solace, won the 2011 Faber Prize and was voted the Irish Book of the Year, captures something essential about friendship, vulnerability, love, and longing. As it explores the push-pull of this achingly intimate, increasingly obsessive relationship--the way James and Catherine attract and repel each other as if they were two strong magnets turned this way and that--the story throbs with the tension between them. This is youth; this is yearning. These are the lessons we learn about desire and disappointment, discovered strengths and regrettable weaknesses--and how to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we made when we did not yet know how to keep ourselves from making them. McKeon regards the characters in her keenly wrought love story--for all their flaws and fragility--with insight, sensitivity, and a compassion that proves contagious.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2016
        It all starts out innocently enough. Catherine, home from university in Dublin, protests to her parents that James, the young man with whom she was seen sharing headphones on the train platform, is not her boyfriend. But who is he, this man with the quick wit and the unruly red hair and the dark fits of melancholy, this man with whom she can talk for hours about everything and nothing, this man who is both hers and not hers? It's complicated. And as Catherine's life begins to open upshe's writing poetry, becoming a journalist, and going to raucous lit-scene partiesher heart remains intimately intertwined with James, even after it becomes clear that she cannot offer him what he needs. Somewhere in the background, the Celtic Tiger of the late 1990s is roaring along, bringing with it social change. But all we care about is Catherine and James and the electric moments between them. McKeon follows her much-praised debut (Solace, 2011) with a fever dream of friendship, love, and obsession that is as emotionally raw as it is artfully crafted.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2015

        McKeon, whose debut, Solace, was voted Irish Book of the Year in 2012, presents a new novel set in late 1990s Dublin, where unworldly college student Catherine and daring, dashing artist James become best friends. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2016

        In 1997, when Catherine Reilly and James Flynn meet in Dublin, she is gravitating toward arts journalism and he is pursuing dreams of becoming a world-class photographer. Their friendship is extraordinary for its intimacy, and though early in their acquaintance James sets limits on how close they'll get, Catherine falls in love with him. As they navigate the increasingly precarious boundaries of their relationship, Catherine's obsession with James ultimately destroys what they have. Sadder but wiser, they reconcile to an extent in 2012, with Catherine's youthful passion for James credited and redeemed. VERDICT With the mastery of Anne Enright--and the influence of Maeve Binchy and Edna O'Brien also evident--McKeon delivers a heartfelt and tragic second novel (after Solace). The subtle narrative pacing and deep descriptions of both Dublin and the characters and their distinctive habits believably convey the often heartbreaking initiations of young adulthood. [See Prepub Alert, 8/3/15.]--John G. Matthews, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
A Novel
popularity
99
publisher
Little, Brown and Company
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