Women is a semi-autobiographical novella that explores an affair and the aftermath between two women nineteen years apart. The book is about the blurred line of female friendship, about being a daughter, a mother, a woman, and a friend. It’s an urgent recall of a heartbreak and a stark identity in crisis.
“Women by Chloe Caldwell is a beautiful read/a perfect primer for an explosive lesbian affair/an essential truth.”
“I read it a couple of months ago in one can’t-put-it-down-even-though-it’s-the-middle-of-the-night sitting. It’s as intense and interesting and clear-hearted as they come.”
—–> Cheryl Strayed, author of WILD and Tiny Beautiful Things
“In her novella, Women, Chloe Caldwell writes, “There are thousands of ways to be blindsided.” Perhaps that’s the best way to sum up the effect this story had on me. If we’re lucky, we allow ourselves to love with ferocity, with abandon, with the hell to the consequences. If we’re lucky we survive this love and love again. Chloe Caldwell joins the ranks along with Kate Millett, Rebecca Brown, and Jeanette Winterson to write about boundaries and desires and the power of love to crush and heal.”
Rhonda Hughes, Hawthorne Books
“I’ll read anything Chloe Caldwell writes. She’s a rare bird: fearless, dark, prolific, unpretentious, and truly honest. WOMEN is an urgent reminder that narrative is how we make sense of obsession.”
Elisa Albert, author of The Book of Dahlia and the forthcoming novel After Birth
Chloe Caldwell’s Women describes–with grace, generosity, and insight—an affair between two women and its messy, loping aftermath. As Anton Chekhov’s “Lady with The Dog” describes, and as our own experiences show us, this kind of taboo sexual love ricochets between ecstasy and misery. Caldwell handles this material exactly as one should, revealing all the ways intense mutual desire tangles up with secret, impossible love. The narrator and Finn have impossible encounters, or impossibly possible encounters. The affair does not operate in the ordinary realm. Caldwell’s novella also deftly describes the intricate way the narrator’s extraordinary love for Finn illumines her loving relationship with her mom. Sure, the title of this book recalls Bukowski’s Women, and yet Caldwell’s Women offers what Bukowski would have envied—-a nuanced description of love as an unfurling, open thing, a female thing, cruel and kind and soulful, not easy to restrain, and in that way, Caldwell’s prose seems more linked to the maximal prose of Eileen Myles. What seems utterly Caldwellian (Chloean?) is how closely the prose attends to the female body, its aches and joys, its connections and dispossessions, how it feels, at every step, to be touched deeply and then left alone.
Jay Ponteri, Author of Wedlocked and Darkmouth Strikes Again
Chloe Caldwell’s Women is all of the beautiful, haunting pain of heartbreak — caught in amber and held up to the sunlight. Chloe’s clarity and candor allows us to be voyeurs while simultaneously making us feel understood. If you’ve ever felt passion mixed with uncertainty, desire mixed with rejection, or if you’ve ever been just plain mindfucked, this book will hit home.
Erika Kleinman, Essays Editor at The Nervous Breakdown
With Women, Chloe Caldwell is to Millennials what Anais Nin was to previous generations–a voice that is raw, intimate, thoughtful, compelling. Above all, heartbreakingly real.
Samantha Dunn, author of the novel Failing Paris and the memoir Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life
Chloe Caldwell’s Women marks her foray into fiction, but reads so searingly honest, you can taste blood on each page. A perfect encapsulation of what it’s like to be strung out on love and jonesing for a fix, let her take you on this heart-wrenching journey and revel in every masochist turn along the way.
Courtney Kocak, forthcoming How to Mourn the Loss of Your Drug Dealer
Legs Get Led Astray is a provocative collection of essays that vividly rockets the reader through one young woman’s life. Chloe Caldwell beautifully and bluntly escorts you through her childhood dreams, her first loves, her most unguarded sexual exploits, bookstore crushes, babysitting jobs, heartbroken wanderlust, and the suicide of a lost lover. Caldwell’s writing remarkably explores the genre of personal non-fiction in new and unpredictable ways.
“Chloe Caldwell’s Legs Get Led Astray is a scorching hot glitter box of youthful despair and dark delight. Tender and sharp, wide-eyed and searching, these essays have a reckless beauty that feels to me like magic .”
-Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, Torch, and Tiny Beautiful Things
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