Not Yet Published
A provocative debut of sex and sexuality—“depicting the liquid frequencies of need and power with a thoughtful, savage eye” (Raven Leilani, author of Luster)—as a twentysomething New Yorker pursues a sexual freedom that follows no other lines than her own desire.
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—BuzzFeed, Electric Lit, The Millions, Lit Hub
I had been going around for years trying to figure out what sex meant to other people. . . .
Eve has an adoring girlfriend, an impulsive streak, and a secret fear that she’s wasting her brief youth with just one person. So one evening she posts some nude photographs of herself online. This is how Eve meets Olivia, and through Olivia the charismatic Nathan. Despite her better instincts, the three soon begin a relationship—one that disturbs Eve as much as it delights her.
As each act of their affair unfolds across a cold and glittering New York, Eve is forced to confront the questions that most consume her: What do we bring to sex? What does it reveal of ourselves, and one another? And how do we reconcile what we want with what we think we should want?
In the way only great fiction can, Acts of Service takes between its teeth the contradictions written all over our ideas of sex and sexuality. At once juicy and intellectually challenging, sacred and profane, Lillian Fishman’s riveting debut is bold, unabashed, and required reading of the most pleasurable sort.
About the Author
Lillian Fishman was born in 1994 and lives in New York. She received her MFA from NYU, where she was a Jill Davis Fellow. Acts of Service is her first novel.
“I was completely absorbed by this radical, daring, and bracing novel about a so-cold and yet so-intimate world where safety and pleasure can be found only in the most unlikely and unpredictable of places. It is a book of exciting, provocative complexity, and, for me, it made the human creature feel like something new.”—Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be? and Pure Colour
“This fascinating novel, which will be read as a defense of libertinism, paradoxically turns out to be a book of exquisite moral refinement and almost intimidating elegance.”—Edmund White, author of A Boy’s Own Story and States of Desire
“Acts of Service doesn’t shy away from asking big questions about the nature of attraction. All this, but with a great deal of page-turning pleasure.”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Our Country Friends and Super Sad Love Love Story
“A kind of supercharged combo of Sally Rooney and Ottessa Moshfegh, and as smart as Joan Didion, Fishman isn’t just a brilliant writer—she’s a brilliant feeler, a great thinker. She has the gift we open books for.”—David Lipsky, author of The Art Fair
“Seamlessly written, sedate and subtle and so pleasurable, and quite enrapturing on a psychological level. This book opens space for a new kind of precision and intelligence that gives the amoral opulence of desire its rightful place.”—Niamh Campbell, author of This Happy and We Were Young
“Months after turning the final page, I’m still thinking about this fiercely wily novel.”—Heidi Julavits, author of The Folded Clock
“In stunning prose, Lillian Fishman explores sex and the self with delicious seriousness and sensuality. I didn’t want it to end.”—Saskia Vogel, author of Permission
“I cannot recall the last time I felt this exhilarated and transformed by a novel. Acts of Service electrified both my mind and body. How can a story feel so smart and carnal at once? Lillian Fishman writes exquisitely about desire, pleasure, life with shattering clarity.”—Sanaë Lemoine, author of The Margot Affair
“Taut, thorny, and sublimely fraught, Acts of Service stares straight into the white-hot center of desire with a cool, incisive eye. This book is electric.”—Alexandra Kleeman, author of Something New Under the Sun