Taddeo spent eight years and thousands of hours with her subjects to render three detailed portraits of female desire, and the end result is an absolute gift. One of the most electric, unapologetic, and powerfully intimate books I’ve ever read, I’ll be reeling from this one for some time. Recommended By Tove H., Powells.com
A work of engrossing literary excellence that will disturb and entrance readers, Lisa Taddeo's Three Women is at its core about women's desire but is a painstaking achievement in nonfiction. I wouldn't hesitate to compare it's influence to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood; this is a book others will fail to hold a candle to for years to come. Recommended By Alex Y., Powells.com
Even today, female desire is too frequently regarded as only a footnote to the common narrative of male desire — it still remains largely unexplored in the shadow of its ubiquitous counterpart. To that end, Lisa Taddeo spent eight years embedded in the lives of three women: a high school student pursued by her beloved teacher, a lonely housewife embarking on an affair with an old flame, and a beautiful, privileged woman who is polyamorous at her husband's request. Taddeo transcends stereotypes with a concept that's as groundbreaking as some of Gay Talese's more iconic works, although her talent eclipses that of the man who couldn't name a single female writer he admired. Every page is extravagant with detail and it provokes a sense of intimacy between the subjects and the reader, one that echoes the love these women seek. Although my experiences diverge from theirs, I too have been made and unmade by what I want, what I get, and what I am denied. By the end of the book, I felt peeled. Three Women is a masterful blend of journalism and storytelling, a Pulitzer-worthy read that I devoured in one great, furious gulp. Recommended By Lauren P., Powells.com
Lisa Taddeo’s fluid prose is amongst the most captivating I’ve ever encountered in a nonfiction book. She expertly puts the reader in sync with the emotional states of her three subjects, telling their stories with both a clear-eyed directness and an empathetic richness. Taddeo completely succeeds in her project and has written one of the best books of the year. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"THIS IS THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR. This is it. This is the one...It blew the top of my head off and I haven't been able to stop thinking or talking about it since." Elizabeth Gilbert
"Taddeo spent eight years reporting this groundbreaking book...Breathtaking...Staggeringly intimate." Entertainment Weekly
"A breathtaking and important book...What a fine thing it is to be enthralled by another writer's sentences. To be stunned by her intellect and heart." Cheryl Strayed
Desire as we've never seen it before: a riveting true story about the sex lives of three real American women, based on nearly a decade of reporting
Hailed as "a dazzling achievement" (Los Angeles Times) and "riveting page-turner that explores desire, heartbreak, and infatuation in all its messy, complicated nuance" (The Washington Post), Lisa Taddeo's Three Women has captivated readers, booksellers, and critics — and topped bestseller lists — worldwide.
In suburban Indiana we meet Lina, a homemaker and mother of two whose marriage, after a decade, has lost its passion. Starved for affection, Lina battles daily panic attacks and, after reconnecting with an old flame through social media, embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming. In North Dakota we meet Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student who allegedly has a clandestine physical relationship with her handsome, married English teacher; the ensuing criminal trial will turn their quiet community upside down. Finally, in an exclusive enclave of the Northeast, we meet Sloane — a gorgeous, successful, and refined restaurant owner — who is happily married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women.
Based on years of immersive reporting and told with astonishing frankness and immediacy, Three Women is both a feat of journalism and a triumph of storytelling, brimming with nuance and empathy. "A work of deep observation, long conversations, and a kind of journalistic alchemy" (Kate Tuttle, NPR), Three Women introduces us to three unforgettable women — and one remarkable writer — whose experiences remind us that we are not alone.
"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..What most fascinates her is how sexual desire transfigures the entire tissue of a personality and changes the course of lives." Slate
"Intensively reported . . . An immersion course in the rituals and consciousness of individuals expressing their desires . . . You come away disturbed, entertained, jolted, and ultimately longing for a cigarette." Vulture
" [An] instant feminist classic...Utterly engrossing...Game-changing." O, The Oprah Magazine
"This is one of the most riveting, assured, and scorchingly original debuts I've ever read." Dave Eggers
"Extraordinary...A nonfiction literary masterpiece...I can't remember the last time a book affected me as profoundly as Three Women." Elizabeth Gilbert
About the Author
Lisa Taddeo has contributed to New York magazine, Esquire, Elle, Glamour, and many other publications. Her nonfiction has been included in the Best American Sports Writing and Best American Political Writing anthologies, and her short stories have won two Pushcart Prizes. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England.
Lisa Taddeo on PowellsBooks.Blog
When people ask how I was able to get so intimate with the subjects of Three Women
— a book about desire reported over eight years — I talk about the different methods I used. I posed the same question, for example, dozens of times and from a variety of angles. It was a book, after all, about desire...