Daphne Merkin

"Thanks to Merkin’s literary legerdemain and stylish prose, her ruminative digressions — about memory, subjectivity and the interplay between reality and fiction — contribute as much to the book’s artistic, emotional and intellectual payoff as her story does."
- The New York Times 




In 22 MINUTES OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, readers follow Judith, a young book editor in New York City, through her descent into an all-consuming sexual obsession with Howard Rose, a lawyer thirteen years her senior who soon exacts a degree of control over her body, emotions, and behavior that Judith finds by turns terrifying and thrilling

Recounted by an older Judith who, years after the end of this dangerous sexual entanglement, has ambivalently embraced marriage and motherhood, Merkin’s new novel tells the story of a woman determined to reclaim her autonomy in the aftermath of a destructive relationship. But that doesn’t mean memories of Howard Rose—and of the gratification she derived from her wayward encounters with him—are ever far from her mind.


Candid and provocative in its exploration of psychosexual abuse and its boundaries yet playful and rich in humor, 22 MINUTES OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE offers a riveting depiction of the erotic lives of women. Sure to propel the on-going conversation about issues related to gender, sex, and power, Daphne Merkin’s novel will find an echo with anyone, male or female, who has wondered about the strange, “corkscrew” ways of intimacy and desire. Having mined the elusive mechanisms of female psychology throughout her long career as a distinguished critic, memoirist, and novelist, Daphne Merkin is uniquely positioned to give us the kind of unblinking, finespun storytelling her subject requires.



By Daphne Merkin

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

On sale: July 7, 2020 │ $26.00 Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-374-14038-0

Other Works