First-year college student Mallory is mourning her mother's death when she begins an affair with an older married woman who's brilliant, accomplished, and self-assured—everything Mallory wants to be. Having comfortably hidden away in their relationship, Mallory must decide as an adult whether she wants finally to face the world. From the assistant books editor at O, the Oprah Magazine. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
Hart debuts with a transfixing queer coming-of-age novel about a woman's affair with a much older professor. Mallory Green is in her first year at a college on Long Island shortly after her mother's death from cancer in 2008. There, she becomes fixated on a never-named woman who teaches children's literature. The professor, who is brusque but encouraging in their conversations, invites Mallory over for dinner. Her husband is away, and she makes plain her own attraction to Mallory. Despite feeling "embarrassed, as if she'd written an intense journal entry that she now had to read aloud," Mallory plunges into an affair with her. The woman ends it when her professor husband returns at the end of the semester, leaving Mallory floundering as she attempts to date a male student and later drifts through postgraduation life in New York City. A flashback to Mallory's youth traces her close friendship with a neighbor girl, saturated with frustrated desire. The professor's reappearance four years after graduation, just as Mallory is settling into a new relationship, opens old wounds. Mallory's intense interiority and self-consciousness will remind readers of Sally Rooney's work, and Hart's prose is delicate and piercing. This is auspicious and breathtaking. Agent: Sarah Burnes, Gernert Company. (May) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.
"A novel about a young woman's life-altering affair with a much older, married woman"--Review by Publisher Summary 2
Long after the end of an affair with an older, married woman, Mallory retreats into herself and must decide whether to stay safely in isolation or step fully into the world to confront how much the woman altered her life, for better or worse.Review by Publisher Summary 3
"Hart’s novel does something exceptional that few pieces of fiction have done successfully….[H]as flashes of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends." – New York Times “An unforgettable account of a forbidden romance.” – Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Patsy“Moving and memorable.” – Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion“Sensual and wise.” – Tayari Jones, author of An American MarriageA novel about a young woman’s life-altering affair with a much older, married woman.Mallory is a freshman in college when she meets the woman. She sees her for the first time at the university’s gym, immediately entranced by this elegant, older person, whom she later learns is married and works at the school. Before long, they begin a clandestine affair. Self-possessed, successful, brilliant, and aloof, the woman absolutely consumes Mallory, who is still reeling from her mother’s death a few months earlier. Mallory retreats from the rest of the world and into a relationship with this melancholy, elusive woman she admires so much yet who can never be fully hers, solidifying a sense of solitude that has both haunted and soothed her as long as she can remember. Years after the affair has ended, Mallory must decide whether to stay safely in this isolation, this constructed loneliness, or to step fully into the world and confront what the woman meant to her, for better or worse. This simmering, unsettling debut novel reveals the consequences of desire and influence, portraying two women whose lives have been transformed by love, loss, and secrecy.