Abandon Me: Memoirs (Hardcover)
March 2017 Indie Next List
“Melissa Febos has one of those minds that's as good at describing scenes as it is at clearly breaking down a complicated idea or articulating ambivalence. Abandon Me is a powerhouse collection - each essay can be enjoyed on its own, but taken together, they form a striking autobiographical portrait of a talented young writer and thinker. You won't want to abandon a voice this powerful, and you won't forget it either.”
— John Francisconi (M), Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
For readers of Maggie Nelson and Leslie Jamison, a fierce and dazzling personal narrative that explores the many ways identity and art are shaped by love and loss.
In her critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, Melissa Febos laid bare the intimate world of the professional dominatrix, turning an honest examination of her life into a lyrical study of power, desire, and fulfillment.
In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another.
At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer's life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal.
About the Author
Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart. Her essays have appeared in Tin House, The Believer, The New York Times, The Kenyon Review, Lenny Letter, and elsewhere. Portions from Abandon Me have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, StoryQuarterly, and twice earned notice in the 2015 Best American Essays anthology. The recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Febos serves on the directorial board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Monmouth University. She lives in Brooklyn. melissafebos.com