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Tampa: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I think this is one of those books you hate to love, because this is me confessing that I loved a book full of pedophilia by an author who couldn't go a page without making me cringe and have the overwhelming urge to take a shower to wash off all of the grotesque and disturbing images forced upon my brain. But this is an amazing book. Tampa is superbly written and riveting: I read it cover to cover in less than 24 hours. Yes, the story is most obviously about Celeste's (the main character and narrator) obsession with young boys, but Nutting's observations about the objectivity of female beauty and the socially unacceptable longings that present themselves in the most brutal of ways are the themes that really got to me. I won't be recommending this book to my mom anytime in the near future, but I will recommend it to anyone who wants to be thrown from their comfort zone into a world that is very much disturbingly real, although most of us go through our lives blissfully unaware of its atrocities.

— From Claire


In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.
Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.
Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.

About the Author

Alissa Nutting is an assistant professor of English at Grinnell College. She is the author of the story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls, as well as the novel Tampa.

Praise For…

“...A highly diverting read...Ms. Nutting lands it.”
— New York Times

“Impeccably written, full of smart cultural observations, and no small amount of wit...A very bold book.”
— Daily Beast

“The writing is often excellent, hilariously dark, and mean…Reading about [Celeste] was honestly disturbing and fun.”
— Entertainment Weekly

“It’s as riveting as it is disturbing.”
—'s Vulture

“Completely entertaining.”
— Salon

“In this sly and salacious work, Nutting forces us to take a long, unflinching look at a deeply disturbed mind, and more significantly, at society’s often troubling relationship with female beauty.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“A work of serious ambition, both literary and moral. It’s also laced with dark, sometimes savage humor and juicy riffs on consumer culture and its twin obsessions, youth and beauty.”
— Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Tampa is one of the most shocking books I have read; it’s also one of the most mesmerizing and surprising. Alissa Nutting has written a stunning, brutal book.”
— Shelf Awareness

“A deliriously enjoyable, absolutely shocking book—a morality tale that tempts and taunts readers to succumb to every kind of immorality.”


“Smart and biting.”
— New York Journal of Books

“A brilliant commentary on sex and society.”
— Cosmopolitan

“Tampa takes on a very serious and disturbing subject with such flair and dark humor and bawdy sexual energy that Nutting is sure to become a member in the small club of authors who turns risky writing into high art.”
— Tin House

“Bold and fascinatingly transgressive…Tampa may be the new American Psycho.”
— MSN Entertainment

“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.”
— Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062280589
ISBN-10: 0062280589
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Pages: 272
Language: English