Merritt Tierce, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree with an MFA in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, is here tonight to read from her new novel about a self-destructive waitress at an upscale Dallas steakhouse. Pulsing with fierce, almost feral energy, Love Me Back is an unapologetic portrait of a woman cutting a precarious path through early adulthood. Join us this evening as we welcome a sharp, original voice staking out new territory in America's literary landscape.
About Love Me Back:
Marie, a young single mother, lands a job at an upscale Dallas steakhouse. She is preternaturally attuned to the appetites of her patrons, but quickly learns to hide her private struggle behind an easy smile and a crisp white apron. In a world of long hours and late nights, where everything runs on a currency of favors, cash and cachet, Marie gives in to brutally self-destructive impulses. She loses herself in a tangle of bodies and the kind of coke that 'napalms your emotional synapses.' But obliteration—not pleasure—is her goal. Pulsing with fierce, almost feral energy, Love Me Back is an unapologetic portrait of a woman cutting a precarious path through early adulthood. In the words of Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, "Tierce roams like an avenging angel across the landscape of twenty-first century American decadence, and the truths she writes achieve a state of near-sacred subversion."
Merritt Tierce, a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, was born and raised in Texas, and graduated from college at the age of 19. She received her MFA in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was named a Meta Rosenberg Fellow. In 2011, she was a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Merritt lives near Dallas with her husband and children.
What our booksellers are saying:
"Love Me Back is deceptive in such an intriguing way. I started out believing I knew who the character of Marie is and where her story would lead. Merritt Tierce jumps back and forth in the chronology to reveal a portrait of a complicated woman and mother whom I slowly identified with more and more as the novel progressed. It is gritty, in-your-face humanity not for the faint of heart."
"Tierce's novel cannot be lumped together with other fictional portrayals of addicts and wanderers, told in stark, purposefully alienating language, because we know its empathetic, intelligent, hopeful heart. This book will hurt you, and it will show you a thousand tiny, beautiful things while it does."
Praise for Love Me Back...
“Love Me Back never flinches, and woe to the reader who comes to this book with the expectation of healing, redemption, a heartwarming tale of human resilience or any of the other fatuous dreck that all too often passes for 'literary fiction' these days. You won't find so much as a sentimental comma in this staggeringly fine debut novel, and that's part of the thrill and terror of reading it. Merritt Tierce goes headfirst into the stuff of life as it's actually lived, with all its messy contortions and life-changing catastrophes, its schizophrenically mixed motives, its demolition derbies of sex and love and our endless yearning for that sweet spot in between. Tierce roams like an avenging angel across the landscape of 21st-century American decadence, and the truths she writes achieve a state of near-sacred subversion."
—Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
“Tierce's prose possesses the force, bluntness and surprise of a sucker punch. Love Me Back is an unflinching and galvanic novel full of heart and heartache; one of my favorite books of the last few years.”
--Carrie Brownstein, co-creator of Portlandia
"Merritt Tierce's debut novel, Love Me Back, is a gorgeous, dirty razor of prose--sharp and dangerous and breathtaking. This is a defiant story about a young woman choosing the life and motherhood that is best for her, without apology. At times, Love Me Back puts Marie into such vulnerable, honest, reckless places you want to cringe, but the fierce strength of Tierce's writing and the electric wonder of Marie's character will not allow you to look away."
--Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State