"This summer's baddest, buzziest novel—about a hot young teacher who seduces her student—has enough biting humor and sexually graphic detail to make our Cosmo editors blush. It's also a brilliant commentary on sex and society."
“Alissa Nutting’s mind-blowing debut, Tampa, is, like Nabokov’s Lolita, a story of illicit sexual obsession and corrupted innocence; its narrator a highly literate adult who preys on early adolescents. But Tampa is a slimy, sticky inversion of the classic old-man-meets-young-girl scenario…. Celeste keeps getting away with it for the same reason that you’ll keep reading about her: she’s abhorrent, but she’s fascinating–and Nutting has announced herself as a writer who is as gifted as she is bold."
"Alissa Nutting’s debut novel, Tampa, will give people something to talk about this summer and beyond. Though the novel’s subject matter is controversial, Tampa is also impeccably written, full of smart cultural observations, and no small amount of wit. Tampa is far bigger than the buzz, and more significant than the catchwords that will inevitably be attached to it."
An Amazon.com Editor's pick for Best Books of the Month in Literature & Fiction
"For those of a more adventuresome literary bent who are looking for a frank—and often, frankly funny—glimpse into the troubled mind of a female sexual predator, this swiftly paced novel will generate as many intriguing questions about contemporary sexual mores as it does laughs.... Nutting has taken a considerable risk in tackling such a transgressive subject at a point in her career when she’s being discovered by most readers for the first time. But a novel can’t succeed based only on a bold premise. It’s a tribute to Nutting’s considerable talent that she adds style and wit to make this a convincing, if deeply troubling, story."
"It's a testament to Nutting's deft skill that Celeste ends up being one of the most interesting people to walk across pages in recent memory, never deviating into arch or even lurid characterization. For a novel centered on transgression, deviance, and sex, that's a feat. This outlying merit applies to the novel itself. This isn't some Lifetime movie, pumped up with dirty bits or salty language. Instead, Tampa is a densely packed literary landmine, just begging to be stepped on."
"It may be the summer’s best beach read — that is, if you ditch the disconcertingly woolly black velour dust jacket, and make sure your kids aren’t peeking over your shoulder. ...Beyond mere titillation, “Tampa” gets at fundamental questions: What are the limits of reader empathy? If an individual we’d view as an unrepentant criminal explains her twisted thought process, are we complicit if we keep reading? And is an adult woman seducing a young male student — with its air of “hot for teacher” fantasy — meaningfully different from male pedophilia?"
"Tampa charms and seduces you into the mind of its remorseless female protagonist then twists the knife by skating uncomfortably close to your own innner darkness. Lock up your sons."
"In brief, it's dark, then darker, piss funny & brilliant."
“Unlike American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, Celeste is aware of her depravity—she fears that were she to work as a model, as some suggest, photos would capture ‘a soulless pervert’—but she indulges anyway….When Celeste’s usual caution erodes, all might be lost were this young woman not lover and fighter both. Nutting’s work creates a solid impression of Celeste’s psychopathic nature.”
Everybody seems to be talking about this book....It’s as riveting as it is disturbing.
"Brave and beautifully written; a provocative look at a taboo subject."
"Tampa is a wild ride—sexy, fast, funny, and frightening, the counterpoint to Lolita. Humbert Humbert is tame by comparison. You won’t want anyone to know how much you enjoyed reading this book."
"A gutsy attempt by a young, female author to embody a wholly unsympathetic female narrator and probe the question of whether society lets women essentially get away with crimes for which men are excoriated."
“Tampa is one of the most shocking books I have read; it’s also one of the most mesmerizing and surprising. I expected to be disturbed, even appalled; what I did not expect in this story of a female teacher fixated on 14-year-old boys was lyricism and black humor. Alissa Nutting has written a stunning, brutal book, one that will generate considerable discussion. I can’t stop talking about Tampa.”
“A middle school teacher in Tampa, Fla., goes to outrageous lengths to hide her voracious sexual appetite for adolescent boys. Nutting certainly brought dark overtones to her story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls (2010), but even that auspicious debut pales next to the unclean psyche at the heart of her first novel. In a story that makes Nicholson Baker’s work look hygienic by comparison, Nutting unleashes a devious temptress ….For decades, transgressive fiction has traditionally been grim, male and graphic. For those few voices asking why there aren’t more women working in this swamp, this one’s for you.”