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Turn of Mind Hardcover – July 5, 2011
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An NPR, Vogue, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Globe and Mail Summer Reading Pick
To call Turn of Mind a thrilleror a chronicle of illness, or a saga of friendship for that matterwould confine it to a genre it transcends. This is a portrait of an unstable mind, an expansive, expertly wrought imagining of memory’s failures and potential. . . . In LaPlante’s vivid prose, [Dr. White’s] waning mind proves a prism instead of a prison, her memory refracted to rich, sensual effect. There are moments of steely, surgical calm, the language tight and fractured . . . and there are moments of blooming, antic poetry. . . . LaPlante has imagined a lunatic landscape well. The twists and turns of mind this novel charts are haunting and original.”The New York Times Book Review
"Gripping . . . Skilfull . . . Unique . . . [A] compelling whodunit . . . . LaPlante has created an unforgettable portrait of the process of forgetting."The Washington Post Book World
"Rare . . . LaPlante's fine novel is both lyrical and shocking." Boston Globe
"Remarkably poignant . . . An artful, ambitious, and arresting attempt to capture the thoughts and feelings, by turns confused, conspiratorial, canny, and clear, of a person in the throes of mental illness . . . LaPlante reminds us all, passionately, that no matter what the state of our health, reality can be elusive and subjective."The San Francisco Chronicle
Expertly paced . . . A stunning act of imagination.”Chicago Tribune
This book is to 2011 what Anna Quindlen’s Every Last One was to 2010the dread-filled, un-putdownable page turner. . . . Skillfully written in the memory-loss first person, the book combines murder mystery with family drama, bringing new meaning to the term psychological thriller.’”Vanity Fair
"Haunting . . . Blackly humorous . . . Remarkable . . . [Told in] the crisp, super-intelligent, and brutally confused voice of Dr. Jennifer White . . . LaPlante is certain in her footingthe verisimilitude here is unnerving . . . [as] she takes us into a world of gauzy shadows and scattered puzzle pieces."Newsday
"Daring and confident . . . A tour de force."Minneapolis Star-Tribune
This poignant debut immerses us in dementia’s complex choreography. . . . Dr. White is . . . by turns brilliant, hallucinatory, and heartbreakingly vulnerable. . . . [A] lyrical mosaic, an indelible portrait of a disappearing mind.”People (4 stars)
"This dazzlingly adroit debut novel is full of suspense, rueful humor, and scalpel-sharp insights into the intricacies of love and frienshipas well as the resilience of the human spirit." More
"A brilliant, even audacious conceit . . . Pitch-perfect."Chicago Sun-Times
"Not only was I mesmerized by LaPlante's ability to put the reader in the circumstance of a slowly evaporating ability to stay in the present, but the ending of the book was also one of the most indelible I have read in yearsI was stunned, silent, and shaken."The Daily Beast
"A heart-wrenching yet thrilling read . . . It is a mystery, thriller, medical story, family drama, and just an all-around good read."Deseret News
How does LaPlante pull a story out of [a protagonist] with no memory? In a word: deftly. . . . A clever whodunit. . . . If this portrait is correct, Jennifer is a sad but true reflection of a disease that ebbs and flows unmercifully. One minute she stares in wonder at a commonplace item like a toothbrush, the next she reacts with almost animal cunning, and the nextalmost miraculouslyshe displays the most salient facets of her former self. The novel’s ending alone will show what a long and winding road it is from confused to comatose.” The Seattle Times
Moving . . . Unusual . . . Cleverly and well written . . . I was quickly hooked.”Literary Review (UK)
[An] accomplished thriller . . . Vivid . . . Turn of Mind is an incisive, humane exploration of how we can rail against our need for close relationships with others, feeling that they undermine our independence, even as we keep going back for more.”Times Literary Supplement
"A page-turner . . . Creates a startling range and texture of fear. From agonizing, slow-motion-car-crash moments to the ironic frissons of a good horror movie, [LaPlante] hits every bell. . . . The complexity never fades . . . The razor sharp quality of [Jennifer's] thoughts, even at their most fragmented, gives her entire ordeal a "Twilight Zone" feel. Up until the final stages of the disease, she still somehow manages to retain the quality of a lone sane person adrift in a world that definitely isn't." Los Angeles Times
"Brilliant . . . Turn of Mind is relentless and chilling."The Globe and Mail
"The basic premise of this debut novel is pure genius . . . Masterfully written and satisfying."Shelf Awareness (starred review)
Executed with skill and elegance . . . . LaPlante’s real achievement here is creating a character whoeven in the midst of losing her mindis concrete, complicated, smart, and sympathetic. . . . Painfully sad and utterly true.”Bookreporter
"Engrossing . . . Exhilarating . . . A page-turning mystery."San Jose Mercury News
A powerfully affecting novel.”Easy Living (UK)
A highly sophisticated, exquisitely written literary thriller.”Daily Mirror (UK)
This morbidly funny page-turner will have you guessing until the end.”She (UK)
"A unique premise for a murder investigation . . . Compulsively readable . . . The mystery of the mind has surely been solved."New York Journal of Books
"Turn of Mind is one of my favorite books of the year. I can't wait to see what LaPlante comes up with next." Karin Slaughter, author of Fallen
What bumps Turn of Mind up into the exalted Daphne Du Maurier/Ruth Rendell category of literary thriller’ is LaPlante’s fearless and compassionate investigation into the erosion of her main character’s mind. . . . Turn of Mind reads as a series of fragmentary-but-illuminating first-person conversations between Dr. White and various other characters. . . . In the short space of these dialogues, Dr. White’s grip on reality fades in and out, like an iffy radio frequency and time frames collapse into each other with fluid ease. We readers become (nervously) at home in the haunted house of Dr. White’s head . . . [and] LaPlante’s turn on the suspense formula is especially ingenious because, as anxious-but-enthralled readers, we have to agree to be entrapped inside Dr. White’s crumbling mind for the duration. . . . Forgetfulness, it turns out, may be something of a mercy after all.”Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
"Heartbreaking . . . Telling the story from the point of view of a woman whose mind is slowly failing could have been gimmicky, but LaPlante completely pulls it off."Ladies' Home Journal
Impressive . . . Part mystery novel, part family drama . . . LaPlante has a gift for rhythm, crafting rat-a-tat passages that are their own pleasures. . . . It’s no small feat that LaPlante manages to spin a coherent tale despite her main character’s profound disorientation.”Entertainment Weekly
"An electrifying book, impossible to put down. Gripping, thought-provoking, humane, funny, tragic, it is masterfully done, a tour de force that can’t be a first noveland yet it is. I’ll read whatever LaPlante writes next, and the sooner the better.”Ann Packer
"A uniquely entertaining murder mystery. LaPlante's portrayal of the prime suspect's escalating dementia is gripping, unnerving, and utterly brilliant."Lisa Genova
The Stone Angel meets Momento in this literary page-turner. . . . Smart, strong . . . With its timely and compelling storyline, LaPlante’s debut is ambitious . . . Both an impressive technical stunt and a moving portrait of a difficult, undaunted woman.”Winnipeg Free Press
Haunting . . . [A] startling portrait of a fiercely intelligent woman struggling mightily to hold on to her sense of self. . . . This masterfully written debut is fascinating on so many levels, from its poignant and inventive depiction of a harrowing illness to its knowing portrayal of the dark complexities of friendship and marriage.”Booklist (starred review)
LaPlante’s literary novel explores uncharted territory, imagining herself into a mind, one slipping, fading, spinning away from her protagonist. . . . LaPlante tells the story poignantly, gracefully, and artistically. Jennifer White, as a physician, as a wife, as a mother, leaps from the pages as a powerful character. . . . A haunting story masterfully told.”Kirkus (starred review)
This extraordinarily crafted debut novel guides the reader through family drama that is becoming all too familiar. That the author is able to do it so convincingly through the eyes and voice of [a woman with Alzheimer’s] is an amazing achievement. Heartbreaking and stunning, this is both compelling and painful to read.”Library Journal (starred review)
"Impressive . . . A subtle literary novel."Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Poignant . . . It’s hard to believe that this is a first novelit’s so carefully written and satisfying in every way. . . . A masterful family drama and a thrilling murder mystery.”Valerie Ryan, Shelf Awareness
Turn of Mind blindfolds the reader and spins her around, gives her a push into a maze of echoes. Alice LaPlante’s debut is a tricky nouveau nouveau roman, rife with danger.”Stewart O’Nan
Alice La Plante's brilliantly original novel took me not simply into the life of a woman falling apart, but directly into her crumbling brain as she tries desperately to keep her sense of her own identity from slipping away. She held me there for three hundred riveting pagesand for weeks after I'd turned the last one. If one of the measures of wonderful fiction is its capacity to grant a reader access to characters and experience she might never have imagined (and I think it is), Turn of Mind surely qualifies as a masterful accomplishment.”Joyce Maynard
"Wonderful. This harrowing exploration of the slow disintegration of the mind is deeply touching and utterly heartbreaking, while also being a compelling page-turner. I loved it."S. J. Watson
Turn of Mind is that rarest of books that defies simple classification. It’s absolutely bursting at the seams with humanity, in the fullest possible array, with all of the twists and turns life can throw at us, and which we in turn hurl ourselves toward. Impossible to put down and yet from the very first page so vivid and ripe with language and comprehension that I knew this was not only a book to be savored, but returned to. Alice LaPlante offers a glorious achievement.”Jeffrey Lent
Hey readers, Alice LaPlante has arrived. Turn of Mind features a crazy-smart narrator in a gripping family drama that is itself a brilliant murder mystery. LaPlante possesses both the wild audacity to attempt such a tour-de-force and the pure talent to pull it off. Totally compelling, dark and yet at moments also darkly funny, completely unforgettable. Lord knows what LaPlante will write next. I can’t wait.”Colin Harrison
As the narrator’s mind is devoured by dementia, she struggles to remember the extent of her involvement in her best friend’s murder. LaPlante’s characters are completely convincing, the plotting masterful.”Donna Leon
Top customer reviews
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Turn Of Mind is the story of Dr Jennifer White, surgeon, wife, mother and friend who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. This is also a murder mystery. We are shown how Jennifer and her dysfunctional family are dealing with daily life and how the murder and mutilation of their longtime friend Amanda puts them high on the list of suspects.
The story jumps from reality to delusion and was difficult to follow in the first third of the book. There were times when I felt like putting the book down and leaving it. The storyline was easier to understand as the book progressed. I gave the book 3 stars because the telling of the story from the point of view of someone with Alzheimer's was unique but at times it seemed the story just dragged on and could have been more succinct.
The writing is good, characters are strongly drawn, but if you're afraid of dementia and institutions, and want likeable
characters, this isn't the book for you. On the other hand, if you like a strong, capable woman as a main character, one who never gives up, you will find that here. One of the major themes is betrayal: in families, in friendships, in the professional world, yet I didn't find it depressing.
The book is written in the first person, and you can really feel Jennifer's frustration and anger at what is happening to her as she has minutes of clarity in which she sees what is really happening and is truly powerless to do anything about it. I highly recommend it, and look forward to seeing more from this author.
As for the book itself, I kept turning the pages, knowing there was a major development just around the corner. I desperately wanted to see the outcome of Dr. Jennifer White's life and her battle with dementia. Fairly accurate, in my opinion. 18 years as a nurse gave me the experience of working with patients and watching them fighting to orient themselves with reality. Until they one day give in, unable to continue.
The book held me in suspense about what really happened to her dear friend, Amanda. If you're reading this, keep going. I think you'll find it satisfying.
Most recent customer reviews
Interested throughout the story .