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Take Me Apart

Take Me Apart

Sara Sligar

  • awardShortlisted, Best International Crime Fiction, Ned Kelly Awards, Australian Crime Writers Association, 2021
  • An Indie Next Pick for May 2020

    ‘Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020’—CrimeReads
    ‘10 Most Anticipated Horror/Thrillers of 2020’—Bustle
    ‘24 Most Anticipated Mysteries/Thrillers of 2020’—GoodReads
    ‘Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half of 2020 Preview’—The Millions
    ‘20 Most Anticipated Debuts of Early 2020’—Electric Lit
    ‘Most Anticipated Books of 2020’—LitHub
    ‘21 Debut Authors to Discover Now’—GoodReads
    ‘Alma’s Favorite Books for Spring 2020’—Hey Alma
    ‘2020 Titles to Watch’—Library Journal

    Journalist Kate Aitken leaves New York for a fresh start in California and a new job: as an archivist for the estate of famed photographer Miranda Brand, who died mysteriously some decades earlier. Miranda’s son, Theo, has returned to the family home after his father’s death, and needs Kate to organise his mother’s work and the mess of her personal effects.

    The further Kate digs into the material, the more a picture begins to emerge of a vibrant artist buckling under the pressures of ambition, motherhood and marriage. But Kate has secrets of her own, including a growing attraction to the enigmatic Theo, and when she stumbles across Miranda’s diary, her curiosity spirals into a dangerous obsession.

    A darkly seductive tale of two magnetic women pinned down by secrets and lies, Take Me Apart is also a chilling, thought-provoking take on art, illness and power, from a spellbinding new voice in psychological suspense.


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    Sara Sligar
    About the Author

    Sara Sligar is an author and academic based in Los Angeles, where she teaches English and creative writing as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in History from the University of Cambridge. Her writing has been published in McSweeney’s, ...

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    1 December 2020
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    Praise for Sara Sligar
    andTake Me Apart

    ‘A dark, thoughtful thriller.’

    ‘At the center of this dark drama is mental illness…Reading it is painful. Yet, these are some of the novel’s strongest pages…A reading experience like peeling an onion layer by layer…You can put this book down, just not for long.’

    ‘Sligar delivers an intriguing mystery while tackling big themes, especially sexism and the societal restraints placed on women’s bodies and minds. The results are spellbinding. A raw and sophisticated debut.’

    ‘A perceptive debut…With a cool style and fast pace, Sligar achieves a propulsive exploration of these ambitious women’s inner turbulence in response to an abusive man in each of their lives.’

    ‘A study of two damaged and sympathetic women…Love story, hate story, mystery—all in one.’

    ‘Sligar handles her intricately structured story’s threads with delicacy in this impressive, suspenseful debut.’

    ‘My favorite debut crime novel of 2020…just spot on about transforming life into art and who gets sacrificed—particularly women—as a result.’

    ‘Art! Archives! Big houses! Brooding, handsome millionaires! This book has everything.’

    ‘Dark and poetic…Readers get a strong, brilliant, flawed woman that is a truly memorable character whose haunting voice permeates the narrative…Fast and immediate, real and relatable.’

    ‘A thriller so raw and gripping, you won’t be able to put it down…The mystery will captivate you while the writing makes everything that much better.’

    ‘By turns, a West Coast art-world satire, an erotic romance and a descent into madness [with a] gratifying conclusion.’

    ‘A rich, impressive debut.’

    ‘A sun-soaked noir…Like any good noir, Take Me Apart has frequent flashes of fine art, and many passages sparkle with Sligar’s style…Sligar explores the sticky territory of power dynamics between men and women, whether boss and employee, teacher and student, or husband and wife. She threads a scathing feminist critique throughout both narratives, nailing all the right talking points of the current discourse.‘

    ‘A haunting story about grappling with demons and a hunt for the truth…Sligar takes the best of thriller, mystery, and romance to create a story bursting with life.’

    ‘A juicy thriller.’

    Take Me Apart is an ambitious, intelligent, and ridiculously readable literary thriller that takes on art, sexism, violence, and mental illness—all set against an evocatively rendered Northern Californian landscape. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for a decade, and though I was quite certain the book’s California town was made up, I still googled ‘Callinas’, just in case. That’s how good Sara Sligar is.’

    ‘What a clever, visceral thriller. A raw, unfiltered twist on gaslighting that challenges how society treats women. It made me sad, angry, and fired up.’

    ‘Sligar masterfully alternates between Kate’s perspective…and the documents Kate is finding in the disorganized piles…Take Me Apart is an incisive look at women in art, domestic violence, and the complexities of legacy.’

    Take Me Apart is a stunning debut. In gorgeous prose, Sara Sligar creates a haunting and decidedly feminist literary thriller that explores mental illness, violence, and the nature of obsession. I loved this novel so much that I blew off all my responsibilities, turned off my phone, and blistered through the whole thing in one sitting. Unforgettable and thought-provoking, Take Me Apart has my highest recommendation.’

    Take Me Apart is such a delicious novel: perfectly plotted, atmospheric, disturbing, sad—even sexy. Sara Sligar brings both the northern California coast and the personal history of a brilliant artist to vivid life. I couldn’t put it down.’

    ‘A smart, post-modern book that takes on the complexities of gendered mental illness and trauma at an engrossing clip. With a complicated visual artist at its narrative center, Take Me Apart teases out the tensions of visibility and fame versus the hidden, unseen wounds of home and interiority, and asks the hard questions of what it means to create as a woman—create art, create life, and create yourself.’

    ‘Sara Sligar’s obsession-worthy debut combines the penetrating insight of the best art criticism with the seductive menace of a modern Gothic romance. Take Me Apart is my favorite kind of thriller: masterfully paced and psychologically precise, with subtle twists that reveal themselves like a developing photograph.’

    ‘This feverish tale handles both mystery and trauma with aplomb.’

    ‘A riveting and nuanced look at mental illness, art, abuse and power; a feminist whodunnit, a gorgeously written literary love story with the propulsive engine of a thriller…If you’re looking for a cocktail of suspense, mystery, romance, and powerful social and psychological observation, then you’ll love this.’

    ‘A fascinating, page-turning debut. A dive into the complex world of two women, connected by the impossible expectations that society has put on them, and damaged by their inability to meet or manage those expectations.’

    ‘American writer Sara Sligar gives us an archivist as central protagonist in her stylish and compulsive thriller, Take Me Apart. Can the meticulous, monotonous act of cataloguing a dead woman’s papers become fatal? Research addicts will recognise the apprehension.’

    ‘Intriguing…Sophisticated…A clever introduction to an author to watch.’


    ‘This book is a great whodunnit that reads like immersive literary fiction and it has a lot to say about art motherhood and mental illness.’

    Other editions ofTake Me Apart
    • Take Me Apart
      ISBN: 9781925923797
      1 December 2020
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