Tender

Tender

by Belinda McKeon

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316344326
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 02/16/2016
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

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. She has had plays produced in Dublin and New York, and is under commission to the Abbey Theatre. McKeon was a nominee for the inaugural Laureate for Irish Fiction post. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Rutgers University.

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Tender 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4 Starting a bit slowly, we are introduced to Catherine, a new student at Trinity College in Dublin. Sheltered, very awkward and insecure, much of the earlier story focuses on her adjustment and rather cringe-worthy interpersonal gaffes. Most notable in this section is her voice: a growing sense of self-awareness, the struggles to ‘get it right’ and the moments that are quintessential to all new university students away from home for the first time. As the story proceeds, Catherine meets James: and the two are soon inseparable. Catherine is a bit in awe of James and his bold way of being, a brashness that does seem to hide some inner tumult. When James lets down his guard and shares some of his own struggles, Catherine’s reaction is dramatic and emotional. Interpersonally, Catherine is still in grade school, and her inability to decipher the lines between friendship, love, companionship and obsession are wholly blurred. Moving into the next portion of the story, Catherine’s obsession with all things James begins to show in the fracturing of her point of view. From a fairly consistent tale of a young girl hitting all the growing pains, we start to see the lack of grounding in reality, the true fragility of Catherine’s mental state, and her progressive decline of her own capacity to manage her life, her emotions or even her own behaviors. This story gets dark, and to McKeon’s credit she crafts the dialogue and emotional pitfalls to draw readers in, in effect bringing you back to those moments when everything depended on what you did right then. Narration is provided by Michelle Ferguson and she managed to capture Catherine in ways that enhanced the story. Initially a touch timid and obviously self-censoring through the growth and confidence gained in the comfort of James’ company, to the manic, abbreviated moments as her control and stability start to fracture. In many small ways the story brings a snapshot of dissolution into mental illness, a checklist of warning signs to note. Ferguson manages the dialogue and the emotional subtleties without missing a step, or overworking for pathos. Strikingly, where the story could have ended with Catherine’s dissolution, McKeon shows ambition in trying to fast forward to a point where the characters are, if not completely healthy, able to provide the perspective of time and distance as they look back on life. Resolution between the hopeful beginning and rather traumatic ending is a hard won and mostly successful venture, and the result is a story far more complex and impactful than expected. I received an audiobook copy of the title from Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This an absolutely wonderful novel! I loved reading this and couldn't put it down. What happens when a man and woman both in college in Dublin fall in love? However, there love for each other is different. She thinks she can change him, if she loves him enough. She can't "fix" him to be what he's not. Read this book to find out why! You won't be sorry to spend time with the author, Ms McKeon. I can't wait to read more of her books.