At Certain Points We Touch (Hardcover)
An Observer Best Debut Novelist of the Year
An Esquire Best Book of 2022
A Stylist Book You Can't Miss in 2022
From an electrifying new voice, a "stone-cold masterpiece" (Olivia Laing) of queer friendship, first love, and unbridled youth.
It's four in the morning, and our narrator is walking home from the club when they realize the date is February 29th-the birthday of the man who was something like their first love. Piecing together art, letters, and memory, they set about trying to write the story of a doomed affair that first sparked and burned a decade ago.
Ten years earlier, our young narrator and a boy named Thomas James fall into bed with one another over the summer of their graduation. Their ensuing affair, with its violent, animal intensity and its intoxicating and toxic power plays initiates a dance of repulsion and attraction that will cross years, span continents, drag in countless victims-and culminate in terrible betrayal.
At Certain Points We Touch is a story of first love and last rites, conjured against a vivid backdrop of London, San Francisco, and New York-a riotous, razor-sharp coming-of-age story that marks the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.
Lauren John Joseph was born in Liverpool and lives in London. They write for the page, the stage, and the screen. Their film and performance work has been shown internationally across the UK, US, Europe, and Asia. They are the author of the plays Boy in a Dress and A Generous Lover, as well as the experimental prose volume Everything Must Go. This is their first novel.
“Lauren John Joseph's vivid debut novel has a live current running through its pages... An impressive debut with lines that linger with on the page.” —Esquire, "The Best Books of 2022"
“A moving portrait of youth, friendship and first love.” —The Observer
“A smart, sparkling, twisting, millennial queer odyssey... Lithe, perspicacious, melancholic and as funny as hell.” —Attitude
“A riotous coming-of-age story that marks the arrival of a bold new writer." —Sheerluxe
“A queer romance novel like no other... The beating heart of this book is... the author's poetic writing-each page is a pure delight to read. Joseph presents a kaleidoscope of beautiful characters with infectious energy and harsh realities. Their descriptions of love, identity, trauma, sex and death are deeply graphic, tragic and yet tender, and will resonate with any reader.” —Tatler
“This is a masterful novel, sharp and clever, that explores how we tell stories and what millennial queer life is like.” —Fiendfully Reading
“A rich and sensuous read, a coming of age story that is full of life and love that reminded me of The Line of Beauty.
Tender and dark in turn, it brings the art world at its heart and its cast list of bright young things brilliantly to life.” —Living Magazine
“This is the story of a destructive love affair played out over years and cities that's going to be an essential read.” —Stylist, "Books You Can't Miss in 2022"
“A stone-cold masterpiece, which in its scope, frankness and ambition reminds me of The Line of Beauty, retooled for the 21st century. By turns libidinous, hilarious, melancholy and full of feeling, it reveals Lauren John Joseph as a shocking new talent” —Olivia Laing
“Lauren John Joseph writes with such wit, glamour, and style! I haven't read a book that so powerfully evokes what it's like to be a wild young artist among other wild young artists since the Bright Young Things were publishing.” —Torrey Peters, author of DETRANSITION, BABY
“Lauren's debut novel is so exciting. The writing is so fresh, funny and gripping-and carries the trademark wit that I have always loved from Lauren.” —Travis Alabanza
“The struggle to find ones place in the world as an artist and lover, creating self and culture as you go along-At Certain Points We Touch captures this fleeting, dazzling moment with glamour and heart.” —Michelle Tea
“At Certain Points We Touch is as much a love letter to the glamour and glory of countercultural nightlife as a self-aware sendup of its absurdities and deprivations. This novel is a rollicking study of the stubbornness, irrationality, and dysfunction of the human heart, with prose as extravagant and daring as a Rococo gown. I would spend as many pages with this narrator as Lauren John Joseph cares to write.” —Kim Fu, author of LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY