I brought Tender with me on holiday, spurred on by its abstract cover and was sold on it after reading John Boyne’s review of it in the Irish Times.
Tender is the story of two friends, James Flynn and Catherine Reilly. Narrated by Catherine, James was a friend-of-a-friend, who ends up becoming her everything. They are inseparable; in James she has found the friend of a lifetime, and for a while the feeling is reciprocated, but when the honeymoon ends, and James’ attentions are grabbed by other things – other people, other countries, boys – Catherine feels his lack as a form of withdrawal and the book becomes much darker as she spins into obsession, just as James has come out of a bad patch and is happy in his first relationship. And as her obsession grows, it tightens like a vice around the reader as we are inexorably drawn towards disaster.
An exceptionally beautifully written novel that completely nails its backdrop of being a student in Dublin in the 90s, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
You can reserve a copy of Tender on South Dublin Libraries’ website here.