'There's some kind of genius sorcery in this novel. It's startlingly original, hilarious and harrowing by turns, finally transcendent. Watkins writes like an avenging angel. It's thrilling and terrifying to stand in her wake' -Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation and Weather
This book is stupendously good. It practically vibrates in its ferocious frankness, and is so funny too that one can't help but fall for this voice, even in the pain, because of the pain, with the pain. A marvel.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness is a white knuckle ride through everything the word love can mean. The shattered lives of the author's mother and father, tenderly retrieved into the story in their own words, are revelatory of the ways in which we and those who form us strive over whole lifetimes to reconcile love with freedom. A novel that celebrates acceptance, curiosity, and the vitality of the individual mind. I loved it.
Claire Vaye Watkins has written a novel about the most frightening creature in America: a bad mother...an audaciously candid story about the crush of conflicted feelings that a baby inspires...Watkins's book sparks the same electric jolt that The Awakening must have sent juicing through Kate Chopin's readers in 1899... It's no coincidence that much of this story takes place in the American desert, a territory that burns away ornament and affectation. Here, on the terrain where she began, Claire sloughs off the skin of a life that doesn't fit her and begins to discover one that might. It's a painful transformation, but utterly captivating to witness.
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness sears with a relentless electricity that vibrates its way into you and permanently changes something in your cells. In Watkins's psychospiritual desert, to choose darkness means you could weep with ecstasy as easily as from anguish. A visionary work that imagines motherhood into audacious and complex possibility.
An exploration of grief, freedom and madness
She's an incredibly cool and fascinating person. This book is autofiction - and she is one of the only people whose autofiction I'd be interested in actually reading.
She writes with vicious urgency and savage wit that makes the pages fly by
[A] novel not of rage but of incandescent sadness, radiating grief for the lost, the damaged, the left behind. It is remarkably clear-sighted
There's a palpable suffering and darkness often, a brittleness; there's also a tenderness, and a lot of laughs to be pulled from its page. A book of bite.
shapeshifting, sharp and transgressive
An incredibly courageous piece of writing
A mother lode of hard truths laced with humour and rage . . . It defies categorisation, much in the same way as Jenny Offill's Dept of Speculation . . . a hybrid of fact and fiction