One of the most mesmerizing heroines in recent fiction Michael Ennis, Texas Monthly

Marie, a young single mother, lands a job at an upscale Dallas steakhouse. She is preternaturally attuned to the appetites of her patrons, but quickly learns to hide her private struggle behind an easy smile and a crisp white apron. In a world of long hours and late nights, where everything runs on a currency of favors, cash and cachet, Marie gives in to brutally self-destructive impulses. She loses herself in a tangle of bodies and the kind of coke that 'napalms your emotional synapses.' But obliteration—not pleasure—is her goal. Pulsing with fierce, almost feral energy, Love Me Back is an unapologetic portrait of a woman cutting a precarious path through early adulthood.


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    Photographed for The Advocate Magazine by Danny Fulgencio

    On Her Path to Becoming a Writer

    14.10.28-ED-LNCH-Merri_optWeb.jpgI just wanted to write what I wanted to write. I didn’t want to write for anyone else. So instead of doing things to make it as a writer, I tried to make money. I’m really glad I did it that way now. I wasn’t writing toward anything for a long time. I just was living, really.

    :Photographs by Danny FulgencioQ&A by Rachel Stone (Lakewood Version). OC Version

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    The New York Times

    Transgressive Fiction

    The problem with summarizing the plot is that it somewhat obfuscates what this book is really about: that misogyny is alive and well, and all too many men still enjoy degrading women. Tierce describes the great mystery of our species’ immense propensity for cruelty and suffering...Love Me Back is one of those exquisitely rare novels that feel desperate and urgent and absolutely necessary.

    :Paula Bomer

    Read the full review at The New York Times.

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    Flashing Lights

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    Oxford American

    There Is No Rescue

    oa-radtke.jpgThere is no redemption, and Marie's longing for and refusal of it becomes ours, too. 

    :Kristen Radtke

    Full graphic review at Oxford American.


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    Interviewed for Guernica by Dwyer Murphy

    Fiery Appetites

    Tierce’s world is populated by waitresses, busboys, and bar-backs,guernica.jpg outcasts whose artistry is in the relentlessness of their movements and in their ability to endure one more shift while keeping reasonably upbeat and obscene.

    :Dwyer Murphy

    Full interview at Guernica.

    Photograph by Kael Alford.

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    Advance Praise

    St. Vincent says It's excellent.

    Love Me Back never flinches,

    and woe to the reader who comes to this book with the expectation of healing, redemption, a heartwarming tale of human resilience or any of the other fatuous dreck that all too often passes for 'literary fiction' these days. You won't find so much as a sentimental comma in this staggeringly fine debut novel, and that's part of the thrill and terror of reading it. Merritt Tierce goes headfirst into the stuff of life as it's actually lived, with all its messy contortions and life-changing catastrophes, its schizophrenically mixed motives, its demolition derbies of sex and love and our endless yearning for that sweet spot in between. Tierce roams like an avenging angel across the landscape of 21st-century American decadence, and the truths she writes achieve a state of near-sacred subversion.

    Ben Fountain

    author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

    Tierce's prose possesses the force, bluntness and surprise of a sucker punch. Love Me Back is an unflinching and galvanic novel full of heart and heartache; one of my favorite books of the last few years. 

    Carrie Brownstein

    co-creator of Portlandia

    Merritt Tierce's debut novel, Love Me Back, is a gorgeous, dirty razor of prose—sharp and dangerous and breathtaking. This is a defiant story about a young woman choosing the life and motherhood that is best for her, without apology. At times, Love Me Back puts Marie into such vulnerable, honest, reckless places you want to cringe, but the fierce strength of Tierce's writing and the electric wonder of Marie's character will not allow you to look away. 

    Roxane Gay

    author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist

    Merritt Tierce must have some kind of magic. She has written a book that, on the surface, is about a waitress moving from job to job, but it is so ferocious, so powerful, so fearlessly told, that by the end I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me. Even now I have the urge to walk down the street and give a copy to everyone I pass, pressing it into their hands, telling them, "Read this. Read it now." Love Me Back is that brilliant and that necessary.

    Cristina Henríquez

    author of The Book of Unknown Americans

    Love Me Back is breathtaking, addictive, sexy, raw and honest. I found myself gasping at the beauty and sadness of this tale of a bright, damaged young woman trapped in a service industry life—I felt her bruises right through the page. Merritt Tierce has written my favorite debut of the year.

    Jami Attenberg

    author of The Middlesteins

    Assembled of sentences unflinching, flirtatious, both raw and surgically precise, Love Me Back is absolutely enthralling from first word to last. A lurid and devastating diorama of womanhood within the so-called service industry, it's also one of the most vital books about our invisible underclass I've read in years. Merritt Tierce is here to stay.

    Claire Vaye Watkins

    author of Battleborn

    Marie, the young, self-destructive woman in Merritt Tierce's sad and dirty and beautifully written novel, Love Me Back, is one of the most memorable characters I've ever come across in fiction. Merritt Tierce is a hell of a writer. Believe me, after reading this book, you will never look at your waitress in quite the same way again.

    Donald Ray Pollock

    author of The Devil All the Time

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