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  • Published: 2 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143791218
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Faithless




A passionate love story and an honest depiction of the self-deceptions we pursue seeking family and attachment.

‘Sometimes, Max, I imagine that I see you in her. Not in the sense of any physical inheritance, but a fleeting essence. Something wary and remote. Haunted, you might say. Though her ghosts are not yours.’Set between India and England, Faithless is the story of Cressida, a writer and translator, and her consuming love for Max, an enigmatic older writer – and married man.
Cressida’s passion for Max engulfs her from the first giddy rush of sensation when she is eighteen and meets him in the mountains of southern India. It is a desire so potent it delivers great stunning blows to her heart. And yet she can share it with almost no one.
Then Cressida meets Leo, and she is forced to choose: between a life of passion or a desire for some peace of mind; between her romantic idealism and the possibility of a steadier, attainable happiness.
As the years unfold with both these men, a fragile young child, Flora, also finds her way into Cressida’s life and heart, and it is Flora who forces Cressida to confront her own capacity for love and deception, and to accept the compromises life forces on us; the lies we tell in service of those things we cannot live without.
Faithless is a passionate love story and a profound reflection on the nuances of attachment, the nature of desire, the different connections and relationships that sustain us, and the ways that we deceive ourselves and others in the hope that, finally, we can reach stumblingly towards one another.

  • Published: 2 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780143791218
  • Imprint: Random House Australia
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Alice Nelson

Alice Nelson is an Australian novelist who lived for many years in New York. She was named the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist for her first novel, The Last Sky, which also won the TAG Hungerford Award. Her second novel The Children’s House was published to critical acclaim in Australia, France and Germany, and long-listed for several awards. Alice’s short fiction, essays and reviews have appeared in a range of international publications. Alice now lives in the south of France.

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Praise for Faithless

Faithless is a remarkable story about love, literature, family, mortality and that which survives mortality, among other profound human experiences. All the more remarkable: it’s written in such vivid, luminous prose that I found myself reading ever more slowly, lest I fail to savour any of its countless brilliant lines. It’s a significant accomplishment.

Michael Cunningham

Faithless is a meditation on devotion and concealment, not only the concealments of clandestine lovers, but larger evasions of history and inheritance. In the end one unexpected attachment holds firm and this story of faith and determination will charm and captivate readers.

Brenda Walker

A ferociously original and absorbing tale. Nelson’s prose is both poetic and poignant.

Leah Kaminsky

Alice Nelson’s Faithless is an astonishing novel that unfolds as a love letter from protagonist Cressida to her all-consuming love, Max. In the beginning, Cressida is looking after a young girl and we can’t be sure how they’re related; it seems they haven’t known each other long. While watching this young girl Cressida reflects on her life and the weighty decisions she has made that have led her to this point. Her life orbits around her love for Max, and it’s to the detriment of her own wellbeing because Max is a married man. Setting him aside, Cressida’s life is rich and full; she travels, she writes, she has a loving friend and an adoring husband, but she would give it all up in a second. Nelson is an incredibly talented writer, creating a narrative voice that speaks directly and personally to the reader. The novel is strewn with literary references, and Cressida often draws on her own reading and the words of others to describe emotions she can’t quite articulate herself. Nelson has a deep understanding of the paralysing nature of love, but also of the complexities that come with the business of living—intergenerational trauma, the choices of your parents, reckoning with a life you weren’t expecting, and knowing your heritage and those of the countries you’ve inhabited. Faithless is gentle, multi-layered and incredibly intelligent. It’s a book for readers who adored Georgia Blain’s Between a Wolf and a Dog, and for those who want to understand and be understood by others.

Danielle Bagnato, Books + Publishing

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