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Absolute Truth, For Beginners

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  42 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Elisa Mancini is a Nobody. Painfully insecure, more at ease with books than with people, at twenty-three she’s a university dropout living at her aunt’s, drifting from one day to another, and waiting for something big to happen.

Judith Shapiro is a Somebody. Arrogant and eccentric, she’s a superstar of mathematics, the subject of scientific articles, and the undisputed ru
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Katarina West
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  42 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Léatitia Brière
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I give this amazing novel 4 stars ! Just like with her first book, Witchcraft Couture, Katarina West give us a unique, beautiful and gripping story. Way more than with her previous book, I felt so much for her main character and the things she was going through. Of course, there are a lot of things to say about Absolute Truth, For beginners, but I will give you four absolute truth you should know regarding this novel. Four things that will make you say : « I have to read this book too! »

The firs
Wendy Janes
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Young Elisa lands a job at the prestigious Shapiro Foundation. She is intimidated by the scientific milieu she’s entering, having previously studied art. Her concept of herself and her role in the world comes under further scrutiny when she falls in love with the middle-aged, enigmatic genius, Judith Shapiro.

In many ways this is the coming-of-age story of a young woman who is struggling to find herself and her place in the world. The story is also an exploration of intellectualism and complex t
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a whacko

Good book. Nothing scarier than that crazy girl who won't take no for an answer. This is exactly why you don't break the heart of a fragile woman.
Edoardo Lenzi
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After Witchcraft Couture, this second novel really establishes Katarina West as a talented writer with a lot of original ideas. I recommend this book with no hesitation at all. In fact it is a gripping pageturner that cannot be put down, as its structure in parts and short chapters allows for ease of reading.
While I prefer not to go over the plot, lest it should be a spoiler to several friends, I would like to highlight some of the strenghts of the plot and the overall story pillars.
The story is
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly beautifully written. The art history and mathematics components added a lot of depth to the narrative. The main character was a believably pathetic character but it was hard to root for her.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I was happy to read this novel as i had met the authors husband and son by chance in a restaurant in tel aviv. I enjoyed the story although i surely wanted to shake Elisa and get her to make better choices. The characters were well drawn but the plot was a bit thin.
books are love
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Received in exchange for a honest review.

This is a personal account similar to a diary without the dates listed of Elisa’s time when she is finding herself and realizing truths about herself and others. When she is learning truths about life and love. About people and futures.

Each character is profound and complex in what they teach and who they are. From Paul who is trying to give Elisa a out and see her as more than just JH Shapiro’s lover to George who indulges others for the sake of peace.

Kristine Hall
Katarina West is such a gifted, thoughtful, REAL writer. She proved it in Witchcraft Couture, and she's proven it again in Absolute Truth, For Beginners. Here, readers meet Elisa, a twenty-four-year-old who has big dreams and aspirations but completely lacks confidence. (REAL) It is only an act of desperation (the first of many) that lands her a job -- her first grown-up job -- that has her moving away from home and starting an independent life. Elisa's world is both humorous and heartbreaking, ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: 2015
​There is a weight of expectation upon a second novel that simply does not exist with a first book. When I read the first published book of a new author expectations are always low and I'm ready to forgive a lot of errors from someone simply learning their trade. So when Katarina's first novel, Witchcraft Couture, was so exceptionally good it raised the bar for her second novel to record-breaking heights.

I have been waiting with bated breath all year for the release of Absolute Truth, For Begin
Sarah Vincent
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A True Original

It’s hard not to love this story of a lesbian affair, set in the rarefied world of Academia. In fact, to sum it up thus, fails to do it justice. Katarina West is a brave and original writer who informs, entertains and generally charms her readers into submission. Who else could combine the worlds of science, arts and philosophy in one highly readable novel? Who else would dare?
I immediately warmed to the young heroine Elissa. An arts drop-out with low self-esteem, when she lands
Brian Keller
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
On the good side, it's a story of a pivotal time in a young woman's life. It's a time that changes her and that she'll look back on as having set the transition to being an adult. I would call it a "slice of life" piece, and it's a light read.

I fear that the negative side says more about me. I found the book to be bland. Elisa is close to being an "every-woman". Her love is deep, mysterious, and (mostly) unrequited. And while she makes a journey from being incapable of any action to capable of s
Tony Riches
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This impressive second novel from Katarina West is a love story - like no other I've read. Absolute Truth, For Beginners explores the overwhelming depths of one-sided, unconditional love - between a young girl and an older woman. You feel like shouting at our besotted heroine, Elisa, as she descends into a relationship which will surely end in tears.

The enigmatic central figure of Judith Shapiro rules her academic foundation like a queen bee, tended by her drones, with the entire hive dependent
Shelly Mateer
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a thoroughly pleasant surprise this book was! Not because I had any doubt about Ms. West’s talent, but because I had no idea what this book was about. I just didn’t grasp what I was in store for, so I began the book with completely open eyes, and quickly became mesmerized with the words I read! It blew me away!
Ms. West creates such likable characters. I commiserated with Elisa - I felt her nervousness and inability to enjoy the company of someone due to feelings of inadequacy… I have also f
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I recevied a complimentary copy.

I was not even sure where to start with this review. It is very hard to find the correct working that will put my thoughts clearly down without sounding a bit prudish, I guess. I did not feel comfortable with the storyline as a whole and did not connect at all with the author's thoughts, characters or style. I do not at the same time want to discredit this book, because it is just how my personal opinion is and not really fair to discount the hard work and creativ
Nicole Person
Mar 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
I really wanted this book to be better. I should have obtained a sample prior to purchase, as the beginning chapters pandered in physics and existential time and space. The main character was far too desperate; which could have been almost acceptable had the protagonist been more than two dimensional.

I really wanted this book to be better. I should have obtained a sample prior to purchase, as the beginning chapters pandered in physics and existential time and space. The main character was far to
Fara Marthone
Feb 24, 2016 rated it liked it
I was confused but mostly angry at the main character. This book has its moments, funny and philosophical. It reads like a confession, a simple retelling from a friend. I can understand the confused state of mind of a 23 years old but I cringed...I forced myself to finish this book, although I didn't expect the ending. Where else could the author has gone with this story, infatuation eventually dies we hope...if you have ever been in that position.
Heather Henkel
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it

Just wow, this was an interesting book but you felt as if you were riding a roller coaster. Ups, downs, twists and turns everywhere. Having spent time in the world of academia with mathematicians, I can honestly say I saw many of my friends and colleagues in the portrayal of the characters.
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t actually read this novel yet. But after reading Witchcraft Couture earlier in the year, I have been impatiently waiting for Katarina West to write something else. This is it! Oh yes, and I interviewed her too.

Queer fiction? Tick. Science? Tick. Lovely, well thought out work? Tick. Beautiful cover? Tick. GO GET IT ALREADY.
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Written beautifully, readers are instantly submerged into Elisa Mancini’s personal life.

Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A totally original and brutally honest story, it deserves all five stars and more! I thoroughly enjoyed Katarina West's style of writing and turn of phrase. I would highly recommend and will be searching for more of West's work as soon as this review is posted.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is wonderfully written, just hard to read because it's full of those cringe worthy moments. She's so terribly insecure, but maybe it just reminds me of my not so finest moments (even if just in my head). So maybe that makes it even more well written as it feels so real.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 13, 2016
Leslie Morris
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Apr 30, 2016
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Mar 16, 2016
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Kathe Byers
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Nov 12, 2018
Critical Mas
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Apr 03, 2016
Ivanka K.
rated it it was ok
Sep 30, 2016
katie m garcia
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Mar 11, 2016
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Reader, writer, and a friend of angels, Katarina is the author of Witchcraft Couture and Absolute Truth, For Beginners. She lives in rural Tuscany, where she desperately keeps heating her old farmhouse.

THOUSAND TINY MIRACLES OF LIVING TWICE is coming out in June 2017, and it's the first book in the ANGEL AID feel-good fantasy series.

If you want to get a glimpse of Katarina's life in Tuscany, go a

News & Interviews

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of young ad...
33 likes · 8 comments
“Where did Judith’s most ground-breaking intuitions come from? Did they come from the realm of logic and rationality? Or from a world beyond it, the very same that had inspired Bach to compose his fugues, and the Impressionists to capture life in all of its fleeting nature?” 0 likes
“why else do I feel that I have lost my faith in rationality? Had it been the truth and nothing but the truth, I would not have needed faith to begin with. I” 0 likes
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