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K-Pax Mass Market Paperback – January 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (January 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312977026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312977023
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This gripping first novel is a moving study of split-personality disorder and of a psychiatrist's desperate efforts to rescue a tragically lost soul. A patient calling himself "prot" and claiming to be a visitor from the planet K-PAX, an idyllic world without wars, government, sex or religion, is brought to the Manhattan psychiatric institute run by a character named... Gene Brewer (who is a psychiatrist, not a retired molecular biologist like his creator). Self-assured, wisecracking prot, who seems to possess arcane knowledge of subjects ranging from astronomy to paleontology, announces that he will return to K-PAX on August 17, just two months away. Before then, though, he enlists fellow patients in his fantasy; some of them, touched by his humanity, show marked improvement. Moreover, when Brewer invites prot home for a July Fourth barbecue, the man's mere presence seems to trigger dramatic changes in the psychiatrist's family. Brewer's daughter confesses that she's a lesbian, while his son, a pilot, divulges his deep-seated fear of flying, and switches careers. Aided by Giselle, a sleuthing reporter whose mawkish crush on prot strikes one of the few false notes here, Brewer finally brings out the repressed personality of a man scarred by trauma. Throughout, the narration's matter-of-fact, clinical tone makes this touching and suspenseful story all the more convincing. Film rights to Lawrence Gordon for Universal Pictures; audio rights to Brilliance.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Presented as the case study of a man brought to a psychiatric hospital for treatment who insists that he is from a planet called K-Pax, this novel is narrated by the attending psychiatrist. Using hypnosis and other therapeutic techniques, Dr. Brewer finally decides that "prot," as the man calls himself, is really the alter ego of Robert, a man whose wife and child were murdered. But if he is Robert, how does he know so much about astronomy, how is he able to cure other mental patients, and how can he vanish from the hospital periodically? The reader is left to decide whether or not to believe prot's story, since the ending is deliberately ambiguous. While this first novel does not stand out in terms of plot, writing, or character development, it is a pleasant read with moments of genuine humor. A good secondary purchase.?Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The author's writing skill was very impressive.
Julianne Trew
The story is simple enough - the main character prot (no capitalisations except for other planets!)
Lesley West
You will just have to read the book to find the answers.
Louis N. Gruber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By SF Signal on September 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
PROS: Descriptive, brisk writing style. Interesting story.
CONS: Somewhat predictable, mis-marketed as sf.
BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable book I would gladly recommend
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A psychiatrist gets a new patient who claims to be a visitor from the planet K-PAX.
Alien visitor or mental patient? The truth is not revealed until the very end, so the book is mainly about the relationship between doctor and patient on present-day Earth. So, it's a stretch to call this science fiction just because a psychiatric patient claims to be from another planet. Although the patient/visitor named "prot" (rhymes with goat - no capitals, please!) can describe the planet with vivid detail, it's mainly a general fiction book.
Classification aside, it's a quick and fun read! The book cover contains a quote calling it a "mixture of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Starman." However, it's more of a mixture between Cuckoo and Field of Dreams. The story is mostly set in a psychiatric ward like Cuckoo and contains the "emotional healing" aspects of Field of Dreams. Alien or psycho? That's missing the point!
The story moves briskly...always a good thing. This book could have easily been padded with another 100-200 pages, but thankfully, it's just the right length (228 pp) for the story it contains. The writing style is clear, detailed and always interesting. With the clarity of writing, it's obvious that much of the psychiatrist's family life is based on Brewer's own experience; sure enough, Brewer's website reveals some personal details that mirror those of his characters.
I do fear that the current sequel and forthcoming 3rd book might be stretching a good premise too far, but, overall, K-PAX is a really good novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on April 12, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
+++++

This book (first published in 1995) by Gene Brewer consists of sixteen chapters (or "sessions") and, as well, has a prologue, epilogue, and even a short glossary. It is a novel that is very easy to read and that held my interest right to the end.

The story is about a man who claims to come from the utopian world called K-pax (a planet "about seven thosand light years [away and] in...the constellation Lyra"). This man is the prot-agonist of this story and calls himself "Prot" (pronounced pr-OAT) meaning (on his world) "sojourner" or traveler.

Eventually, Prot ends up in a mental institution and the psychiatrist who treats him is Dr. Gene Brewer. (Notice that the doctor has the same name as the author.) The entire book is mainly about the interaction between Prot and Dr. Brewer.

When reading this novel, you'll find that Prot has wit, humor, and much knowledge (especially in sciences like astronomy and physics and in philosophy). Dr. Brewer finds Prot quite rational and he later says, "I had never experienced a case like this, one for which I couldn't seem to find any handle."

Dr. Brewer asks his astronomy friends to formulate astronomical questions for Prot. Prot answers all these questions (despite the fact that these answers were known only by a few eminent space scientists). As well, Prot demonstrates certain otherworldly abilities. Thus, both Dr. Brewer and the reader don't know whether Prot is indeed an extraterrestrial or a traumatized human suffering from "hysterical amnesia and delusion."

Prot has a positive influence on all people he meets especially on Dr. Brewer, his family, and other patients in the institution. This gives the novel a certain warmth and charm.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Christopher Coleman on November 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up and read it in one day, at two sittings. It's an intriguing novel done as a psychiatric case study of the main character, "prot", a homeless man who believes himself to be from the planet K-PAX. The story is a voyage of discovery into prot's character and a social commentary on the ills of our time. Although there are touches of sadness, the overall quality of the book is optimism. I didn't find it as compelling as the other reviewers, although it was certainly enjoyable and well done. I don't see this as a must-read for sci-fi fans at all--it isn't by any means a science fiction novel. Rather, for those of you interested in the human condition and in people; for those of you willing to take a touch of magical realism with your reality, this will be a good read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Callaway on November 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This a GREAT book. Author Gene Brewer has written this book under such an odd premise; a psychological case study. The story is told from the perspective of the psychologist, Dr. Gene Brewer. The author and main character have the same name. . . I don't know what that's all about. (maybe like how Tony Danza, always plays a "Tony")
Well, I have to be honest. I saw the movie first. So, I know that I had a predetermined thought of what was going to happen. So in turn, having seen the film, I thought the book started off very cold. The psychologist, Dr. Brewer, is looking at the character "prot" (rhymes with goat), as delusional. Now, I understand that is how any psychologist would see this. But, nonetheless, it seemed very cold. The "cold" soon subsided and the novel turned around. There were wonderful descriptions of all of the characters. Dr. Brewer's family, prot, and patients in the hospital were are brilliantly detailed. The interactions between prot and his fellow patients were just wonderful. I won't go any further into the story or the characters, I don't want to spoil anything at all, especially if you haven't seen the film.
Now, I am by no means a quick reader. It took me about a week to get halfway through this book. But the halfway point is where the book really gets good. After I hit halfway, it took me a whole two hours to finish the rest. I could not put it down. The story had an intensity, perhaps even an urgency that was just infectious. I ate, did laundry, and smoked without putting the book down in that last two hours. It is probably one of the best books I have read. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
epc
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