SALT LAKE CITY — A lot of what made Gabriel Tallent a successful writer comes down to his favorite activity — climbing.
Tallent, who was born in Sante Fe, New Mexico, grew up in California and now lives in Salt Lake City, said there’s a certain reward you get from climbing, something that’s not unlike the rush you feel from writing.
He said that climbing “has become the careful assessment of risk and creative problem solving, and sometimes a very serious reckoning with your doubt.”
Tallent’s own risk to work part-time and write full-time has proven to be well worth it.
On Aug. 29, the talented Tallent released his debut novel, “My Absolute Darling” ($27 Riverhead Press). The novel, deemed a masterpiece by the legendary Stephen King, tells the story of Turtle, a young girl who can’t escape the clutches of an abusive father — that is, until she meets a young boy named Jacob with an eye to rescue her. Soon she finds herself battling her inner self, debating whether or not she can truly leave the only family she’s ever known.
“I have always been interested in books that are about finding your way when the way is completely unclear, like how we grapple with who we want to become,” he said in a phone interview.
He said the book appeals to those who constantly face struggles with identity and those “who are interested in that fight to be a good person when the stakes are murderously against you.”
Tallent admitted, though, that book has a few taboo-like scenes and graphic depictions of abuse. Indeed, Turtle’s father is sexually and physically abusive, manipulating his daughter into terrible scenarios that break her self-esteem.
Tallent said readers may not always like those sort of stories, but while they are difficult to read, they are also painfully real to those who live them. He feels it’s important not to shy away from them.
“We need to try and see those people clearly. And I think that when we do, we’ll see their stories have dignity just like any other story. And if we try and bear in mind that dignity the stories will seem less off-putting and more essentially human.”
Tallent first started writing…