I Could Live Here Forever: A Novel
A BELLETRIST BOOK CLUB PICK
“Halperin’s radiant second novel walks the fine line between the longing for couplehood and the torture of codependency. . . . Let the rapturous intimacy and gut-churning ups and downs begin!” —Leigh Haber, The New York Times Book Review
“I read this book in three days and canceled plans to finish it. It is heart-wrenching and relatable in so many ways.” —Emma Roberts
By the award-winning author of Something Wild, a gripping portrait of a tumultuous, consuming relationship between a young woman and a recovering addict
When Leah Kempler meets Charlie Nelson in line at the grocery store, their attraction is immediate and intense. Charlie, with his big feelings and grand proclamations of love, captivates her completely. But there are peculiarities of his life—he’s older than her but lives with his parents; he meets up with a friend at odd hours of the night; he sleeps a lot and always seems to be coming down with something. He confesses that he’s a recovering heroin addict, but he promises Leah that he’s never going to use again.
Leah's friends and family are concerned. As she finds herself getting deeper into an isolated relationship, one of manipulation and denial, the truth about Charlie feels as blurry as their time together. Even when Charlie’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, when he starts to make Leah feel unsafe, she can’t help but feel that what exists between them is destined. Charlie is wide open, boyish, and unbearably handsome. The bounds of Leah’s own pain—and love—are so deep that she can’t see him spiraling into self-destruction.
Hanna Halperin writes with aching vulnerability and intimacy, sharply attuned to Leah’s desire for an all-consuming, compulsive connection. I Could Live Here Forever exposes the chasm between perception and truth to tell an intoxicating story of one woman’s relationship with an addict, the accompanying swirl of compassion and codependence, and her enduring search for love and wholeness.
Praise for I Could Live Here Forever: A Novel
Praise for I Could Live Here Forever
“Aching and tender. . . . Halperin’s radiant second novel walks the fine line between the longing for couplehood and the torture of codependency. . . . Halperin writes from a millennial point of view, probing themes of social anxiety and intense trepidation about the future. But Halperin’s take on love sets her apart: As misguided as Leah’s feelings for Charlie may seem, they are pure and hopeful — about as untainted by cynicism as it is possible to be.”
—Leigh Haber, The New York Times Book Review
“I read this book in three days and canceled plans to finish it. It is heart-wrenching and relatable in so many ways.”
“A compelling new version of the addiction novel. . . . I Could Live Here Forever brings readers deep into the world of addicts and those who love them. . . . Like addiction, and codependence, and internalized misogyny, I Could Live Here Forever is a wrenching story that’s been lived and told before. Halperin does us a service by sharing her version of it, entertaining, warning and educating us with her all-too-accurate novel.”
—Meredith Maran, The Washington Post
“This novel is so good and follows closely on the heels of Hanna Halperin's prior novel (which I also loved), Something Wild. There's just something about Halperin's writing style and how she captures difficult, troubled characters.”
—Zibby Owens, Good Morning America
“A gripping novel about a couple’s troubled love story.”
—Cup of Jo
“Hanna Halperin’s second novel, I Could Live Here Forever, fearlessly delves into powerlessness in the face of addiction. . . . Halperin keenly captures the obsessive nature of [Leah and Charlie’s] relationship. . . . Halperin skillfully builds a story that carries us along on the couple’s journey, creating very human characters that we come to care about either despite or because of their flaws, and she keeps us turning pages to see how the story will unfold. You will find yourself wondering, will love win out, or the unnerving sense of foreboding prove true?”
—The Martha’s Vineyard Times
“I was intensely moved by I Could Live Here Forever—I read it in one day and finished sobbing, feeling that I and the author and her beautifully rendered characters had all been through something profound together. Leah’s relationship with Charlie is drawn with unsparing, unpretty candour which is constantly undercut by moments of dazzling tenderness—this book acts as a kind of vivid, devastating answer to the often heard question ‘How could you stay with a person like that?’ Halperin’s desire and ability to so deeply consider the lives in her book became as affecting to me as the story itself, creating the sort of author-reader intimacy rarely found but always prized. I will remember and re-read this gorgeous, emotionally intelligent, truly beautiful book often.”
—Megan Nolan, author of Acts of Desperation
“A superb, uncynical novel about the innocence of unsustainable love—a wonderfully haunting and memorable book.”
—Joan Silber, award-winning author of Secrets of Happiness
“Somewhere between Fatal Attraction and what narrator Leah Kempler calls ‘some beautiful love story’ sits I Could Live Here Forever, Hanna Halperin's smoldering, troubling and indelible second novel, following Something Wild. Although fraught love is a commonplace subject in fiction, Halperin's sophomore effort has staked out fresh territory with a relationship that feels sui generis.”
—Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Brutal, beautiful, unputdownable, I Could Live Here Forever is a dark romance that reads almost like a thriller and captures the emotional complexity of life in the twenty-first century. I loved it.”
—Joanna Rakoff, bestselling author of My Salinger Year and A Fortunate Age
“With an attention to intimate detail that is both unflinching and compassionate, Hanna Halperin conjures full, complex characters who challenged my understanding of the relationship between love and harm. I devoured this in a day.”
—Naomi Krupitsky, New York Times bestselling author of The Family
“A stark, beautiful novel about the risk and intoxication of obsessive love and a young woman’s need to be needed. Hanna Halperin makes you feel her heroine’s hunger in every action and hesitation. Even as I feared for Leah, Halperin’s writing made it impossible to look away. You won’t be able to put this book down.”
—Alyssa Songsiridej, author of Little Rabbit
“I Could Live Here Forever is a gripping novel about the ways we try to be the best versions of ourselves, and pull each other back from collapse. With careful prose, lush descriptions, and skilled character insight, Hanna Halperin gives readers a stunning story that changes the way we see the people around us.”
—Ethan Joella, author of A Little Hope
“While Leah’s self-destructive relationship with Charlie is the dark heart of the narrative, it is Leah’s gradual self-discovery of her own worth that breathes like a fresh new life. This, in the end, is a relationship well worth reading about.”
—New York Journal of Books
“I was immediately gripped by Hanna Halperin's stunning novel, I Could Live Here Forever. With a frank assuredness reminiscent of Sally Rooney and Emma Cline, Halperin balances a close lens over both the anxiety and hopefulness of the Millennial viewpoint, bringing so much that has come to define the generation—the opioid crisis, economic and occupational precarity, the uncanny intensity of intimacy expressed on a smartphone—into stark relief. I felt so much heartbreak and fear and frustration for Leah and Charlie, whose love affair was as irresistible to me as it seemed to the characters themselves. This is a book that will stay with readers, and make them feel alive.”
—Liv Stratman, author of Cheat Day
“A rich, deep, star-crossed love story both heartbreaking and beautiful to read.”
"Staggering. . . . The characters are real and vulnerable. . . . Many readers will feel they can identify with this portrait of self-discovery, messy emotions, and challenging relationships. Fans of Halperin’s first novel will also enjoy this offering."
“Halperin humanizes the tragedy of drug addiction through Charlie, who is sweet and kind and loving and also irreparably damaged. Wistful, honest, and heartbreaking.”
“A doomed love affair frames this perceptive sophomore outing from Halperin. . . . The ‘buzzing electric hum’ between the couple feels vital, as does the pull of exasperating and enchanting Charlie on Leah. By the end, even the most grizzled reader might turn into a hopeless romantic.”
"I Could Live Here Forever, Halperin’s second book (after Something Wild) is about a woman's relationship with an addict, fraught with compassion and codependence, and her enduring search for love."
Praise for Something Wild
WINNER OF THE EDWARD LEWIS WALLANT AWARD
A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD FINALIST FOR DEBUT FICTION
LONGLISTED FOR THE VCU CABELL FIRST NOVELIST AWARD
"This wise, brilliant novel is so special, so overflowing with honesty and love—about motherhood, sisterhood, what it’s like to be a woman—that every paragraph feels like an epiphany. Hanna Halperin knows the fierce love that can exist especially among broken things. Something Wild moved me deeply."
—Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Untamed
"Propulsive . . . . Weaving between the past and the present of all three women, Something Wild creates a compelling, believable and upsetting portrayal of how trauma ripples through a family. . . . Good books sometimes cut to the bone, and this one feels like a scythe."
—Scaachi Koul, The New York Times Book Review
"Rarely has an author taken the time and demonstrated such honesty with the complexity of girls’ desire and how they act on it, how it can sour the sweetest relationship. . . . At a time when many novels rely on intricate plots or eccentric narrative voices, Something Wild eschews literary pyrotechnics and relies instead on the power of truth. We may not like what we see, but we know we’re being given an opportunity to change the way we look at sexual dynamics."
—Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post
"Something Wild is the story of the fierce love and secrets that exist between sisters Tanya and Nessa and their mother, Lorraine—but I was just as impressed by the radical interiority that Hanna Halperin grants her characters. The women of this novel are painted with startling honesty and insight: they think the unthinkable, do the unfixable, and their raw vulnerability is thrilling, for it acknowledges our own. In this emotionally astute debut, Hanna Halperin shows herself to be a writer who is as compassionate as she is unafraid of darkness and taboo. Something Wild is tender, fearless, and savagely alive."
—Chloe Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortalists
"Something Wild is a gripping portrait of a family in all its shattered complexity. Hanna Halperin is a compassionate and wise writer, and in this searing debut she peels back the shiny exterior of the Bloom family and reveals what is true for us all: that secrets are psychic poison, and they transform us when they come tumbling out."
—Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance
"In Something Wild, Hanna Halperin takes a startling look at intimacy in its kaleidoscopic range—its capacity to make and undo us, to deliver us to danger and lead us out again. The grace of Halperin’s careful eye makes it impossible to diminish or look away from the women at the center of this book, even when their lives fail to give them the mercy we would want for them. This is a brave and exquisite debut."
—Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections