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The Intimates: A Novel
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The Intimates: A Novel

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A powerful and compassionate debut novel about friendship and how it helps shape us into the people we are

The Intimates is a brilliant and deeply moving first novel about the varieties of romance. Spanning years and continents, beginnings and endings, it is about two gifted and striving people who discover themselves in the reflection they see in each other, and how their
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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(showing 1-30 of 371)
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This had the potential to be a very amazing novel. It spoke of sexual exploration, entering adulthood, general life ideas conflicting. It was actually written well, but the author's idea wasn't fullfilled nowhere near it's potential. It was fragments, pieces were missing, cohesion between parts. It needed to be longer and the author needed to go back and fill in parts. Like they claim to be really great friends in high school but we don't see that. And that ending. Talking about being left unsat ...more
Christopher Wensley
The Intimates draws on the fine line between confidence and fear of failure. We seem to tell ourselves on a daily basis that we are the only ones in the world filled with self doubt, that everyone else has it figured out and that we should put on an act of false confidence least we be found out. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, but that has never stopped human behavior at all.

This book, feels released at an especially appropriate time, when Millennials, as we are called, are fa
I love the cover of this book, I just straight up think it's fun and interesting.

And the novel is not bad. Which is linguistically not a great sign for mr. sassone.

I mean there were some moments were it needed a little cpr, I mean to write an entire novel about the relationship between fag and hag and never really address/admit in the text that is what you are doing is a little bit strange as far as I'm concerned, and lets be honest you gave great openings, (view spoiler)
Larry Hoffer
I really enjoyed this book, but it is really difficult to describe. Reading it taught me a valuable lesson—the description of a book on its inside cover isn't always accurate.

The Intimates poses an interesting question: can you write a story about a friendship when in two-thirds of the book, the friends aren't ever together? Robbie and Maize became friends in high school. Once they removed the sexual component from their friendship (as Robbie began accepting his homosexuality), their relationshi
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This is a story of Maize and Robbie. It travels through the end of their high school years into their early adulthood. I enjoyed reading about Maize sometimes, and other times I found the book completely boring and uninteresting. I tried to like it and understand what it was supposed to be about, however, I found it unsettling because there is no resolution to the emotional conflict that the characters faced. Whether it be conflict with their parents or sexuality it was presented and then just h ...more
I really liked this book. I thought it was brave and bold. The writing is elegant and the erotic scenes are explicit without being pornographic. This author creates two interesting young characters and follows their separate and intertwining stories over several years. What made this book feel more REAL to me than most novels is the way it shows how personal progress often actually happens: with one or two steps forward, one or two steps backward, and times when the forward and backward steps ar ...more
Shannon Ferguson
I had seen this on the table at a book store and thought it looked good, so I requested it from the library. I'm sort of surprised it wasn't in the YA section, as the writing was good, but not terribly complex, and the story itself was also fairly straightforward.

I like reading about teenagers confused about love, which was basically the whole idea here, so I found it engaging enough to get the whole way through in a day, but I wasn't exactly reveling in any deep insights or moved by the author
I saw a review of this book that said it had stunning emotional insight. That reviewer couldn't have been more right. If you want to read a novel that really gets to the core of what it's like to be young and bright and sensitive and have a ridiculous crush on someone, or to make love for the first time, or to struggle with parents you both love and resent, or to just try to figure out who are you and what you really want in life (while you're embarrassed not to know it), check out this book. Th ...more
Lindsay Car
A superb, funny, sexy, and original new novel about two friends whose devotion to each other is more satisfying and dependable than their other intimate involvements. The writing in this book is just plain gorgeous on every page. It has wickedly insightful observations about love and sex and romance and ambition. It also has writing so tender and moving you'll want to cry from sympathy. This author places his characters in intersting and suspenseful situations with plot developments that are twi ...more
This beautiful novel is the kind of book that will appeal to fans of Alice Munro, Michael Cunningham, Marilynne Robinson and Charles Baxter: classically structured, elegantly composed, and illuminating fiction that burrows deep into the lives of its characters and guides readers toward a fresh and heightened understanding of ordinary human emotions. Although the protagonists, Maize and Robbie, couldn't be from a more different background than mine, I sometimes felt, while reading about their odd ...more
In The Intimates we meet two young people who become the closest of friends despite being polar opposites in almost every imaginable way. Their story is told by going into slices of their lives, a day or a week here and there, allowing us to interpret what’s really in their hearts by the details of these moments, and by how they see each other. Each of the three stories (one hers, one his, one theirs) is enjoyable enough by itself, but in the end it’s not quite enough. We don’t know enough, so w ...more
Andy S.
A quiet gem of a book, exquisitely sensitive and wise.
An Artful Debut: Ralph Sassone's first book reveals an author with a knack for describing the human condition with originality and humor AND, most importantly, for writing a story that is enjoyable to read cover to cover. While the main thrust of the book is the unique relationship between Maize and Robbie, a whole host of interesting minor characters from places ranging from an Italian hotel to a suburban high school to a hyper-aggressive NYC real estate office each have a role to play in telli ...more
This exquisite book explores the prismatic, deeply felt world of two "best friends" whose experiences--largely happening apart from each other--both expand and contract their knowledge of themselves. A compelling strain of illicitness runs through the story, mirroring the endless compromises these young people feel they have already made and which have corrupted them before they can even begin their adult lives. Shot through with penetrating, luminous prose, this is the sort of novel we talk abo ...more
This exquisite book explores the prismatic, deeply felt world of two "best friends" whose experiences--largely happening apart from each other--both expand and contract their knowledge of themselves. A compelling strain of illicitness runs through the story, mirroring the endless compromises these young people feel they have already made and which have corrupted them before they can even begin their adult lives. Shot through with penetrating, luminous prose, this is the sort of novel we tak abou ...more
I want to give this three and a half stars. I got sucked in really quickly in the beginning and enjoyed the high school and college parts, but once they graduated, it came off as White People Problems: whining about their jobs that they thought were disastrous but really weren't and whining about relationships that could have been decent but they pushed the people away and then wondered why there were lonely. Still, even in the last half there were moments of good stuff -- this was never horribl ...more
An acute and beautiful yet subtle book. Carefully crafted and lyrical without being annoyingly "poetic." Probably more for people who care about great characterizations, emotional intensity and elegant sentences than a driving or action-packed plot. The two main characters are fabulously well drawn and the supporting cast (especially the parents and one very mean real estate agent) pretty memorable too. GREAT opening section and plenty of suspense and fun all the way through to the end.
Ad Astra
This was a good book, I read it in about a day and a half on the subway. It got a low rating not because it was bad but because there's some funny parts and some interesting bits but I won't be reading it again. The narrative can get a bit pushy and uncomfortable, and there is a free floating feel about the book which I sort of enjoyed. It's like taking a quick look at someone's life.
An exhilarating and lovely read. Totally relatable characters. Working on a small scale, this writer manages to create something large: an emotionally complex, exquisitely compassionate novel about the striving toward intimacy between close friends, lovers, parents and children, and others. A quiet tour-de-force.
I loved this book! It was very poignant and gave us insight on human relationships as well as one's growth. It places the characters in everyday settings where readers can identify with their struggles and challenges, as well as their triumphs! It was a great read and I hope Sassone writes a follow-up novel.
A collection of bits and bobs that don't cohere into a novel.

Sassone has a trashy streak that I really like. I know it's terrible to talk about the book you wish the author had written, instead of the one he actually did, but "The Intimates" wants to be a big gossipy beach read, not a literary novel.
I feel like I should say something about this book, but am not sure what that should be. Two people whose pretty much every relationship is messed up except (mostly) the one they have with each other. It wasn't really a sad book or happy book, but just there.
Daya F
This was an absolute page turner....I could not put this one down! I have referred this one to many many of my friends and also snagged a couple of copies before the Christmas holiday to give to dear friends. It's truly a must read! Don't be left out!
Lindsey Lang
Mar 03, 2011 Lindsey Lang marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-to-read
another of the trio of books that surprised me today when i got home from work. i love it when you don't know you won any and then they just come in the mail!!! this is the one of the bunch that sounds the best to me. =)
I really enjoyed this book, which is a tale of two friends who meet in high school and reconnect in college. The book is about growing up and finding your way, even if it means you grow apart from someone. A delicious read.
This book managed to be both trashy and terribly boring at the same time. Luckily I checked it out from the library and didn't spend money on it. I'd recommend skipping this one, folks.
Jun 17, 2011 Kali rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kali by: NPR
Okay--kinda felt like I was hanging out with some pretentious/richie hipsters the whole time, so I found it hard to relate to their angst, but still was a cute and intelligent read.
I'm not sure why I bothered with this book, it just wasn't very interesting. The characters just didn't go anywhere---I kept thinking they would, but...nope. Don't bother with this one.
I like this book most because it explores the power of non-sexual intimacy, and how those relationships can be life-giving and simultaneously perilous.
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Ralph Sassone studied writing at Columbia and Brown Universities. A former editor at The Village Voice, he has worked as a freelance writer or editor for several publications including The New York Times, Details, Newsweek, Newsday, and He has taught at Brown, Haverford College, and Vassar. He lives in New York City and upstate New York. The Intimates is his first novel. More inf ...more
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