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Comment: All profits go to Housing Works -- NYC's largest HIV/AIDS organization. Minimal wear to cover. Pages clean and binding tight. Hardcover.
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The Intimates: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two friends stumble into adulthood in Sassone's charming if shaggy debut, a triptych of episodes covering Maize and Robbie's evolving relationship. The pair date briefly in high school as Robbie tries to hide his crushes on boys, and Maize develops an intense rapport with her guidance counselor and loses her virginity to her college admissions interviewer. In the intervening years, Maize and Robbie fall in and out of touch as he heads to Italy and she takes a job as an assistant to a tyrannical real estate agent. Finally, after they become roommates in New York City, Robbie relies on Maize for moral support as he brings a boyfriend home to meet his mother. That Maize and Robbie continue to orbit each other long after their commonalities have vanished is less surprising than the fact that they do so without any apparent abiding affection for one another, and while Sassone skillfully balances their perspectives, their emotional distance from each other casts an implausible shadow over their travails and blunts the scant dramatic tension to be found in their struggles to grow up. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Things tend to go wildly wrong for Maize and Robbie, the survivors of noxious households that left them clueless about what intimacy might mean. Drawn to each other in high school, they become friends after Robbie confesses his sexual confusion. Their bond deepens during college and beyond as Robbie accepts that he’s gay and they share an apartment in New York. They are so close, Robbie thinks, “He and Maize are like each other’s human diaries.” And that’s a good thing as they each stumble into ludicrous and damaging involvements with inappropriate people. Exceptional first-time novelist Sassone’s lost characters are enticingly conflicted and acidly funny as they navigate painful predicaments—from Robbie’s nearly mortifying error while visiting his wealthy father in Rome to Maize’s showdown with her malevolent boss. Add to that inventive metaphors, an ability to write about sex with unusual insight, and keen understanding of the nature of ambivalence. As Maize and Robbie seek paths forward, Sassone dramatizes the elusiveness of maturity, “the unruliness of existence,” and our habit of hiding our true selves, especially from ourselves. --Donna Seaman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374176973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374176976
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Intimates" is Ralph Sassone's first novel, an auspicious debut. It's an enchanting story about the close friendship between Maize and Robbie, a young woman and young man who are drawn to each other in high school, realize their relationship won't be sexual, and then become intimates, kindred spirits, over the years as they navigate painful predicaments and difficult relationships with other people.

Sassone is a sharp observer of the human condition. He writes here about sex and relationships with great sensitivity and warmth, and also with extraordinary wit. Many of his observations are laugh-out-loud funny. I look forward to future work from this fine author.
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By bville77 on February 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful and unusual book about the power of best friendship between a man and a woman who happen to sleep with other people.

Maize and Robby meet in high school and aren't the most natural pair of best friends. Maize is shy and gawky and unsure of what she wants to be in life but she's one of those quietly observant people who might be brilliant in an unflashy way. Robbie is flashy by comparison. He's a handsome, expensively dressed, ambitious straight A student from an affluent but messed up family. Despite their superficial differences they immediately get it that they're kindred spirits - two smart kids who don't yet have a clue about what or how to be in the adult world or how to be intimate with anyone but each other - and although they have plenty of lovers, they're sort of married to each other for the next decade.

This novel is gorgeous and fun.. the prose is full of suspense, drama, and humor. I didn't want to put it down. The Intimates is uplifting and wickedly funny and thrilling. I fell so in love with these characters and their story, I didn't want it to end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book about New York type characters. New Yorkies are often neurotic and self obsessed and, let's face it, don't mix too well with their fellow "Americans" at the end of the day. What Ralph Sassone does so entertainingly here is explicate a friendship of the sort that can only happen in the tri state area. Robbie and Maize are in a tough place; tough city, and also generationally. There is a lot of concern about colleges, and getting to Europe and doing lots of other east coasty things, like getting on quaint trains that go upstate. But the through line, the fear, is that one will never have a real place of one's own in the world. Not with a job, not with a partner. And of course, like everything, it's all about doing what you have to do to get your hands on some money.

There are parents in this novel, and they are starting to come apart at the seams. Fully realized, grown ADULTS all behave with enjoyably predictable awfulnes. I have a feeling that Mr Sassone has a lot more to say about these people, and it will not be uplifting.

*For sheer mischeif making, I enjoyed the Rome sequence. (The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone came to mind - )

It seems that Mr Sassone moves in rarified circles- I hope he comes out with another book soon - he seems to live in a world that prizes wit and manners and sophistication and he writes of these worlds with assurance and authority.
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Format: Hardcover
Got an advanced copy of this novel from a publishing friend and I'm really glad I read it. The Intimates is a dazzling book that follows two intensely close friends, Maize and Robbie, from their years as high school students through their twenties, when they live together in New York City. Along the way we get to see Maize and Robbie's relationships with divorced parents, stepparents, teachers, crush objects, hookups, and coworkers-all in scenes that are sharp, funny, heartbreaking, and surprising. This book is pretty amazing. One of the most gorgeously written novels that I've picked up in a long time, with great descriptions and plot twists. The Intimates is an exceptionally strong and original book.
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Format: Hardcover
...or "Everyone needs to be on Prozac." I couldn't decide on which title to use for this review of "The Intimates," which was incredibly depressing & filled with angst & a deep level of sadness.

I thought I was going to read about a friendship described as a "special intimacy--a passionate yet platonic tie" between Robbie & Maize as they become "each other's human diaries" as reviews & the fly leaf promised. Human diaries? Huh? Did they even talk with each other at length about anything important? Instead, Maize & Robbie seemed to withhold the most important of topics from each other.

In fact, I read about 2 people who couldn't be more detached in their relationship with each other and yet so self-absorbed in their angst as they meandered into default living.

How depressing. Did we all read the same book? I sure didn't read anything humorous or witty. It took a page to describe that Robbie was an introvert who procrastinated, hid behind his academia, & was socially awkward. *YAWN.* Maize was an ambiguous mess. I never got any insights into why she was so standoffish with men.

I spent more time looking up words in the dictionary, which lead to nothing profound, even thought it read as if it was supposed to be something important.

Someone asked what book was I currently reading; I was actually at a loss on how to describe this book. A meditation on a friendship? (or as the author prefers: a "Cogitation"). Not even close. Two characters barely connecting, but shared a deep friendship throughout?

The only thing they seemed to share was the same page at varying intervals.

I'll admit, there was a beautifully written scene about Robbie and his father, that exposed their vulnerability. But it was much like watching a frozen moment on a photograph. Echoes of emotion. And that's where it ends, too.
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