Listed in Guardian's 2019 in Books: What You'll be Reading this Year
Listed in The Atlantic's The 15 Best Books of 2019
Lina, a homemaker in suburban Indiana, is a decade into a passionless marriage when she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming and transforms her life. Sloane, a glamorous entrepreneur in the northeast, is married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. Maggie, a high school student in North Dakota, begins a relationship with her married English teacher that will have extraordinary consequences for them both — as well as the community in which they live.
Over the past eight years, Lisa Taddeo, an award-winning journalist and longtime contributor to New York and Esquire, embedded herself with three ordinary women to write this deeply immersive account of their erotic lives and longings. The result — shocking, powerful, and timely — reads like George Packer’s The Unwinding, but for sex. Three Women is a major work from an exhilarating new talent.
Jake Smith-Bosanquet manages the translation rights for Three Women
Translation Rights Sold
Three Women is an astonishing act of imaginative empathy and a gift to women around the world who feel their desires are ignored and their voices aren’t heard. This is a book that blazes, glitters and cuts to the heart of who we are. I’m not sure that a book can do more.
It’s Taddeo’s deep, almost feverish commitment to detail and context that elevates the stories, making them feel not just painfully real but revelatory…. By peeling back the layers with such clear-eyed compassion, Taddeo illuminates the essential, elemental mystery of what it is to be a woman in the world.”
Three Women’ captures the pain and powerlessness of desire as well as its heady joys….for all the freedoms women have won, female desire is often still considered unruly and unacceptable, even repulsive
Taddeo couldn't have known when she started that her book would so precisely tap into the zeitgeist, a year after the #MeToo movement demolished unspoken assumptions. Yet for this reason, her microscopic inventory of three women's private moments – down to the perfume one wore when she met her husband, or the skirt another chose when she reunited with her high-school sweetheart – feels urgent. …In sharing stories about consent, desire and memory, three women teach us about all the things we never talk about.
Written in a razor sharp literary style—think: Elena Ferrante on speed.
Three Women is the new required reading for women and any person who wants to know them. Taddeo has given these women’s testimonies of desire, love and trauma a brilliance and dignity that is nothing short of revolutionary
I am annoyed with myself for having read too quickly two books that I would go as far as to call newly minted masterpieces. I gulped down Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Fleishman is in Trouble [also an ICM client] and Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women like a couple of icy Aperol spritzers, so addictively acute is their examination of life and, in particular, desire in 2019.
The Times UK
…in the way that many daughters seek to heal something our mothers lacked, “Three Women” burns a flare-bright path through the dark woods of women’s sexuality. In sentences that are as sharp — and bludgeoning, at times — as an ax, she retains the accuracy and integrity of nonfiction but risks the lyrical depths of prose and poetry…
An extraordinary, documentary deep dive into the psychology of women and sex that is as unputdownable as the most page-turning fiction.
Three Women is riveting – a searing, honest, visceral and compulsive account of women’s desire. I’ve never read anything like it.
This book will amaze you, for articulating so directly and beautifully the chaotic truths of women’s desire...my non-fiction book of the year. Astounding.
As gripping as the most gripping thriller.
Addictive, totally addictive … Brilliant.
An utterly compelling, scorching piece of reportage.
I've not read something so confronting, humane and brilliant in a really long time. An outstanding achievement.
The last [book] that blew my mind is Three Women by Lisa Taddeo … I tried to read it all in one night.
Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women offers a fascinating excavation of the intricacies of love and desire, where they conspire and where they conflict. Read this book. You will forever rethink the erotics of women.
An instant feminist classic... In this utterly engrossing, frankly game-changing work of narrative nonfiction, a New York magazine contributor profiles a trio of everyday women, shining a light on their darkest desires and how men (and other women) often thwart those wants.
An unflinching dissection of female desire so poetically described, I forgot it was non-fiction. Lisa Taddeo makes a gorgeous, unabashed debut. Wow.
Not since John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood have I stayed up all night reading a book. Then I read Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women.
Three Women is painstaking, painful, unblinking, unsentimental, and utterly unapologetic. Lisa Taddeo comes scarily close to proving the truth of a line uttered by a character in an Antonya Nelson story: “Love is sadness.”
Three Women is, first of all, an astonishing work of literary reportage. As Lisa Taddeo writes about her subjects, the women she uses to map out an anthropological, humane, passionate study of female desire, she seems almost to inhabit them.
Three Women is a book with the thrill of the new and you can expect it to dominate WhatsApp threads, line Tube carriages and pop up in foreign AirBnBs for years to come. Taddeo hasn’t just caught a moment, she has spawned a new genre.
It doesn’t just aim. It succeeds. Three Women is an astonishing act of imaginative empathy and a gift to women around the world who feel their desires are ignored and their voices aren’t heard. This is a book that blazes, glitters and cuts to the heart of who we are. I’m not sure that a book can do much more.
The literary brilliance of the book will knock you back–how she channels these women’s voices through her own. . . . For anyone who thinks they know what women want, this book is an alarm, and its volume is turned all the way up.
Taddeo narrates with a magically light touch, inhabiting each [woman] so fully we feel as if we're living alongside them. The book is sexually explicit — you might blush when reading it — but it never feels gratuitous or clinical. Its prose is gorgeous, nearly lyrical as it describes the longings and frustrations that propel these ordinary women. Blending the skills of an ethnographer and a poet, Taddeo renders them extraordinary.
Three Women is a book with the thrill of the new and you can expect it to dominate WhatsApp threads ,line tube carriage and pop up in foreign AirBnbs for years to come. Taddeo hasn’t just caught a moment, she has spawned a new genre.
What makes Three Women so remarkable and indelible, and also so refreshingly out-of-step with the tenor of the present moment, is Taddeo’s refusal to judge these “characters.” She is not particularly interested in determining who is right, who is wrong, and who is to blame. Intensity and compulsion draw her to these stories like tractor beams. What most fascinates her is how sexual desire transfigures the entire tissue of a personality and changes the course of lives
I can’t remember the last time a book affected me as profoundly as Three Women...Truly, Three Women is an extraordinary offering.
You’ll want to pass your copy on to a friend as soon as you’ve read it; it’s a book that begs discussion.
You’ll have to remind yourself these stories aren’t conjured straight from the writer’s imagination. They’re described with the emotional ferocity and lyrical prose of a really good novel.
The book is narrative in tone, and Taddeo is stellar at embodying the women, taking on the voice of each in turn. It produces a feeling that the reader is sitting down over coffee to listen to the deeply personal and frequently painful stories of Maggie, Lina and Sloane.
It’s as propulsive as any literary hybrid thriller, by a writer who exhibits a nearly supernatural and supremely novelistic capacity to inhabit her subjects’ consciousnesses
She makes you see parts of yourself in each of these characters, even if you are sometimes appalled by them. You might find yourself needing to scream into a pillow – it just is that kind of book, the kind that deserves all the hyperbole I’m using right now.
Already backed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Caitlin Moran, ‘Three Women’ has the qualities and the momentum to become a literary sensation. It's also one the world could do with right now.
The hype for Three Women is real. In fact, it’s insufficient... She writes of their lives with intimacy, treating real women with the depth that fictional characters often receive — a reminder that each of our lives are story-worthy.
Three Women is a skilled example of imbricated layering, mixing high trauma with the quotidian, the profound with the peripheral
When three women tell their uncensored truth, they can liberate a nation. I feel deeply grateful to Lisa Taddeo for giving us this gift of raw authenticity.
Who among us can’t relate to the fear of being alone or the desire to be loved—even by someone who isn’t exactly perfect? It's this emotional universality that has me predicting this book will be the nonfiction read of the summer.
Her distinct proximity to her subjects shows in the intimate fantasies, scorching encounters, and profound pains they relate through her, but, the power resting fully with them, this never becomes voyeuristic... Readers will almost certainly fly through this, and want to talk about it.
This is an unusual, startling and gripping debut. It feels to me like the kind of bold, timely, once-in-a-generation book that every house should have a copy of, and probably will before too long.
It’s been years since I’ve read a book as propulsive, engrossing, mind-bending, and required as Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women...It is the deepest dive into our neighbors’ consciousnesses that I’ve ever read, so immersive it approaches the Tolstoyan, and its narcotic pleasures mainline the only thing that can truly save us: empathy.
Author of Mr Peanut Full Review
One of the most riveting, assured and scorchingly original debuts I've ever read ... I can't imagine a scenario where this isn't one of the more important – and breathlessly debated – books of the year.
Intense and riveting. It gives us epic themes in miniature. These women broke my heart and I won't forget them.
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