Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She is attractive. She drives a red Corvette. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed and devoted to her. But Celeste has a secret. She has a singular sexual obsession - fourteen-year-old boys. It is a craving she pursues with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought. Within weeks of her first term at a new school, Celeste has lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web - car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack's house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming encounters in Celeste's empty classroom between periods. It is bliss.
Celeste must constantly confront the forces threatening their affair - the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack's father's own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind. But the insatiable Celeste is remorseless. She deceives everyone, is close to no one and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
With crackling, stampeding, rampantly sexualised prose, Tampa is a grand, satirical, serio-comic examination of desire and a scorching literary debut.
Alissa Nutting is an assistant professor of creative writing at John Carroll University. She is the author of the award-winning collection of stories, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Oprah, Tin House, Fence and Bomb, among others. This is her first novel.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Alissa Nutting