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Love Me Tender

by Constance Debré

Translated by Holly James.

Price: £10.99

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Quick take

A period of immense change inspired Constance Debré’s work of auto fiction set in Paris. When her 20-year marriage comes to an end, she throws herself into exploring her sexuality as a queer woman whilstrejecting material possessions emblematic of her past comfortable life. Her ex-husband can’t accept her new identity and retaliates by severing her contact with her son.

Synopsis
Why we love it

Heartbreaking and uncompromising, we couldn’t stop reading this Love Me Tender. With an honesty and spareness reminiscent of Annie Ernaux, Constance’s story is one that is singular and rarely heard.

When Constance told her ex-husband that she was dating women, he made a string of unfounded accusations that separated her from her young son, Paul. Laurent trained Paul to say he no longer wants to see his mother, and the judge believed him.

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When Constance told her ex-husband that she was dating women, he made a string of unfounded accusations that separated her from her young son, Paul. Laurent trained Paul to say he no longer wants to see his mother, and the judge believed him.

She approaches this new life with passionate intensity and the desire for an unencumbered existence, certain that no love can last. Apart from cigarettes, two regular lovers and women she has brief affairs with, Constance's approach is monastic and military - she swims daily, reads, writes, and returns to small or borrowed rooms for the night.

A starkly beautiful account of impossible sacrifices asked from mothers, Love Me Tender is a bold novel of defiance, freedom and self-knowledge.

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  • Constance Debré, born in 1972 in Paris, trained and practised as a lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. She is also the author of Play Boy, winner of the 2018 Coupole Prize.

  • Pete Ayrton founded Serpent’s Tail in 1986 with a mission to introduce British readers to risk-taking world literature no one else in the UK was publishing. The list established a reputation for its diversity of voice and fearlessness.

    See all books by Serpents Tail