"He is telling me that i'm good, but what thrills me is the thought that i'm not. if i look up at his face now, maybe i'll see something terrible."
A schoolgirl catches the eye of the future leader of Nazi Germany. An aspiring playwright writes to a convicted serial killer, seeking inspiration. A pair of childhood sweethearts reunite to commit rape and murder. A devoted Mormon wife follows her husband into the wilderness after he declares himself a prophet.
The twelve stories in The Love of a Bad Man imagine the lives of real women, all of whom were the lovers, wives, or mistresses of various ‘bad’ men in history. Beautifully observed, fascinating, and at times horrifying, the stories interrogate power, the nature of obsession, and the lengths some women will go to for the men they love.
Praise for The Love of a Bad Man
"Like Helen Garner, Laura Woollett is impelled to explore the darkest corners of the human heart, the savage cognitive distortions of love; to understand and empathise with the monstrous, rather than to instinctively recoil or judge … Woollett's pitch-perfect command of narrative voice, period, and psychology creates 12 tales to fascinate and unnerve."
"The Love of a Bad Man is a rare combination of immense writing talent and wondrous imagination. You've never read a book quite like this one."
JEFF GUINN, MANSON
‘Woollett explores power, obsession and warped love in this absorbing collection.’
"The stories treat death with a gothic inevitability and explore human darkness with a light touch."
"[Woollett’s] stories are beautifully written – poised and elegant."
“The women in Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s assured short-fiction collection The Love of a Bad Man are the kind that get under your skin and stay there.”
“The theme of Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s debut short story collection could be a Nick Cave concept album.”
THE LIFTED BROW
"Seductive and enthralling … Woollett is a master of her craft."
STEPHANIE DICKINSON, LOVE HIGHWAY
"Compelling and powerful."
RUTH WYKES, CO-AUTHOR OF WOMEN WHO KILL
“[W]hat sets Woollett apart is the ease with which she floats through the lives of her protagonists… an experiment in the limits of empathy.”