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I Meant It Once

On sale

6th July 2023

Price: £14.99

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472158598

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I Meant It Once explores longing, belonging and the big emotions that can make us feel small with unusual elegance and depth’ Coco Mellors, author of Cleopatra and Frankenstein

‘Gorgeously written and staggeringly honest . . . It will bewitch you’ Tess Gunty, author of The Rabbit Hutch

I Meant it Once signals the arrival of a major talent and voice’ Brandon Taylor, author of Booker Prize Finalist Real Life


‘I was enraptured by these stories… Perfect for fans of Greta Gerwig’ Edel Coffey

With this sharp and witty debut collection, author Kate Doyle captures precisely that time of life when so many young women are caught in between, pre-occupied by nostalgia for past relationships – with friends, roommates, siblings – while trying to move forward into an uncertain future. In “That Is Shocking,” a college student relates a darkly funny story of romantic humiliation, one that skirts the parallel story of a friend she betrayed. In others, young women long for friends who have moved away, or moved on. In “Cinnamon Baseball Coyote” and other linked stories about siblings Helen, Evan, and Grace, their years of inside jokes and brutal tensions simmer over as the three spend a holiday season in an amusing whirl of rivalry and mutual attachment, and a generational gulf widens between them and their parents. Throughout, in stories both lyrical and haunting, young women search for ways to break free from the expectations of others and find a way to be in the world.

Written with crystalline prose and sly humour, the stories in I Meant It Once build to complete a profoundly recognizable portrait of early adulthood and the ways in which seemingly incidental moments can come to define the stories we tell ourselves. For fans of Elif Batuman, Ottessa Moshfegh, Patricia Lockwood, and Melissa Bank, these stories about being young and adrift in today’s world go down easy and pack a big punch.

‘Perceptive, funny, forthright, and often alarmingly relatable, I Meant It Once is a tremendously good debut’ Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

Reviews

Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back
Kate Doyle's economical and beautiful prose is suffused with a wistful melancholy shot through with wry humor, and we feel her characters' longing as though it is our own. The details are exact, as are the insights; the stories feel utterly real. The result is intimate and propulsive. An exceptional debut.
Alexandra Chang, author of Days of Distraction
The crystalline stories of I Meant It Once capture the complexities of our most intimate relationships-between partners, friends, family, and with one's self. Kate Doyle is a gifted storyteller, with a highly attuned sense for both language and vulnerability. This collection brims with the aches and longings, those wrenching pangs of emotional resonance, that one searches for in great fiction.
Lynn Steger Strong, author of Want and Flight
Crystalline, funny, and richly alive, the stories in I Meant It Once thrilled me with their emotional acuity, their delicately nuanced portrayals of desire and intimacy, and their formal and syntactical dexterity and play.
Brandon Taylor, author of Booker Prize Finalist Real Life and Story Prize Winner Filthy Animals
I Meant it Once signals the arrival of a major talent and voice. These stories are by turns funny, melancholy, wry, and piercing in their insight. More than that, I arrived at the end of each of these stories feeling a little less lonely in a world that seemed a little less dark. Kate Doyle brings a rare confidence to stories about the lonely, the prickly, the aimless, and the out-of-sorts, all told in prose that is lively and beautiful. I loved these stories
Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
With I Meant It Once, Kate Doyle proves to be an exciting, fresh, intelligent, unique, poetic and wild new talent. More, the stories feel like dispatches from the front of modernity. This is what it feels like to be here, and young, right now. This is a timely, inspired, great book.
Mary-Beth Hughes, author of The Ocean House
Kate Doyle's gorgeous, electric fiction upends expectations about how stories are told and what exactly needs telling. Lovers and rivals, siblings and friends navigate the funny, strange, sometimes explosive, sometimes transcendently beautiful terrain of love and ambition. These are wise, intimate, essential stories.
Kevin Wilson, bestselling author of Nothing to See Here and Now is Not the Time to Panic
In this incredible collection, with inventive and beautiful language, Doyle captures the stories of young women who find themselves so close to transformation into a defined version of themselves, one that will lead to a future that will hold them, and she does so with honesty and verve.
Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had
Kate Doyle's sentences are something to be savored, and the characters in these stories live and breathe and stand up fully from the page. Perceptive, funny, forthright, and often alarmingly relatable, I Meant It Once is a tremendously good debut.
Edel Coffey
'I was enraptured by these stories, many of which explore the difficult-to-articulate emotional terrain of early womanhood... Doyle forces us to question why we dismiss young women of this age so readily and at what cost. A brilliant new voice and a subtle inquirer of society. Perfect for fans of Greta Gerwig'
Irish Times
What's so impressive about Doyle's writing is not only that she manages to express and engage with nebulous and difficult-to-articulate emotional ideas...but that in doing so she also manages to suffuse these apparently anti-plot stories with riveting readability
Coco Mellors, author of Cleopatra and Frankenstein
A delicate balance of sharp and sweet, I Meant It Once explores longing, belonging and the big emotions that can make us feel small with unusual elegance and depth. Kate Doyle is both a gifted observer of human nature and an original and poetic prose stylist.
Tess Gunty, author of The Rabbit Hutch
Gorgeously written and staggeringly honest, I Meant It Once is a reclamation of female friendship, intellect, rage, desire, and creativity - placing a timeless filter on contemporary questions. It will bewitch you