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Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind [Kindle Edition]

Alice LaPlante
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Description


--A "New York Times" Editor's Choice
--An NPR, "Vogue," "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel," and "Globe and Mail" Summer Reading Pick
"To call "Turn of Mind" a thriller--or a chronicle of illness, or a saga of friendship for that matter--would 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 2010--the 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 brutal


"For those of a certain age, death is far less frightening then dementia, the central issue of this brilliant debut. Told in the first person by a physician slowly descending into darkness, Turn of Mind is relentless and chilling."
"--The Globe and Mail"
"LaPlante does a great job of building suspense, finishing with a twist that most won't anticipate. Beyond being just a satisfying summer read, this book is an examination of a long, complicated friendship, and the capacity of two people who love each other to hurt each other, too."
""The Stone Angel" meets "Memento." . . . A smart, strong debut novel. . . . Timely and compelling."
"--Winnipeg Free Press"
"LaPlante has created an unforgettable portrait of the process of forgetting."
"--The Washington Post"
"Artful, ambitious and arresting."
"--San Francisco Chronicle"
"An impressive first novel."
"--Publishers Weekly "
" "
""Fascinating on so many levels.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 400 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0802119778
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (7 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005BON6YW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,945 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Whodunnit with a difference 23 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Written from the viewpoint of Jennifer, a middle-aged victim of Alzheimer's this is very different from the usual "whodunnit". Amanda, her best friend, has been found murdered and the fact that Jennifer was a skilled surgeon whose friendship with Amanda was often turbulent, is enough to make Jennifer the prime suspect. The police are convinced she is guilty but Jennifer cannot remember what she did yesterday, never mind whether or not she is responsible for the crime. As the Alzheimer's tightens its grip, Jennifer's memories become more fragmented as she peels back the layers of a complex friendship.

Turn of Mind is written in very short paragraphs, italics being used when a character other than Jennifer is speaking. It isn't always clear exactly who is speaking, and I often had to flip back a couple of passages to determine who was who. This is certainly not a page-turner in the usual sense of a murder mystery, but it's well-written and the author convincingly conveys what it must be like to suffer from this horrible disease.

Overall I did enjoy this book and will probably look out for future novels by Alice La Plante.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A literary work - not a murder mystery 5 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I read the first few pages of this book and almost decided not to read on, as the style of writing was not one I would normally like in what I had assumed to be a murder mystery. Flipping forward through the book I could see that this was not just in the first chapter but that the apparently disjointed first person style continued. However I stuck with it and quickly became drawn in to the story. I realised that the style was actually necessary to the subject matter, as it was narrated by a woman declining with Alzheimer's disease. It felt as if the author really understood the journey that a sufferer of this disease experiences and if she does not have first hand knowledge then she has fooled me!

The result is multi-layered: a tragic story of a previously highly intelligent woman with a worsening condition but with flashes of memory that add great poignancy to her situation; and a gripping murder mystery. The first plays to all our darkest fears of losing our minds and memory, the sheer indignities of old age and the loss of self. The second is, from the start, not as straightforward as the story suggests, and you are unlikely to be too surprised at the ending.

In reality, what grips you and makes you keep turning the page is not the murder theme at all but the need to watch this woman's decline, as much as you want to turn away from it. You almost feel like a voyeur but cannot leave it alone. I realise this may be a very personal reaction but for me this was above all a human tragedy, where all of our younger lives and hopes and dreams are invested in this character and we empathise with her loss while dreading her fate. I am not sure where the publisher or Amazon will categorise this book but it is not a mystery/thriller and will not necessarily please those who search that genre. It is literary fiction.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is clever, not a madly exciting page turner but complex enough to keep you hooked to the end. The author has chosen to use an alzheimer's sufferer as the principle character; an odd choice that seems to work well. As the alzheimer's takes hold, more and more of her relationship with the murder victim, also her best friend, becomes exposed. It's a strong concept which the author tackles bravely but; I did find her getting as lost as her lead character from time to time. The plot isn't fast, or particularly tense, and the story comes to a halt on more than one occasion where, I found myself scanning rather than reading. However; "Turn of Mind" is beautifully crafted, stylish and a modern murder "whodunnit". A breath of fresh air when compared to the foul mouthed, super violent crime thrillers around at the moment. I was never overly excited by Turn of Mind but I haven't read anything in this style before and I quite enjoyed it overall.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! 26 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was left stunned by the power of this novel, and it's effect on me. I finished the novel during a longish car journey and spent the rest of the drive contemplating the story and the writing style.
This is not an easy read, the subject matter is very difficult and at times the writing style can be difficult to follow. Told in the first person by Dr Jennifer White in a mixture of ways - through diary journals, through flash-backs and dreams and through dialogue. Jennifer was a brilliant surgeon, her speciality was hand surgery, she still has a brilliant mind ...... sometimes. Jennifer has Alzheimers and is struggling, sometimes she wonders just who that blond woman in the kitchen is, sometimes she knows who her daughter is and always she forgets that her friend Amanda is dead.
It is Amanda's murder that is the central point of the story, the police suspect Jennifer. After all, Amanda's body was discovered with her fingers surgically removed from one hand - how many people in Amanda's life could do that.
As the novel continues, the reader is let into Jennifer's world - it's not easy place to be, and it seems that Jennifer has not always been the nicest of woman, but flash backs reveal truths that have been hidden and only add to the story and to the make up of the characters.
Yes, there will be comparisons to Alice Genova's Still Alice, which I really enjoyed reading too, but I became so much more involved in the story and the cast of Turn of Mind.
A very clever debut novel - I'm sure that Alice LaPlante is going to go from strength to strength, I can hardly wait to see what she comes up after this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars so well written
This book has many elements, is compassionate yet also is a mystery novel, all woven together carefully and with carefully sculpted style. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Law
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
Told mainly from the perspective of a woman suffering from Alzheimers Disease the book gives the reader an insight into the gradual disintegration of her mental health and the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Elizabeth Hepburn
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Club choice
Not an easy book to read but well worth the effort.
Insightful about a conditional that we usually encounter from the observer's POV. Very well written -
Published 10 months ago by Alicat
5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner
Enjoyed wandering through the character's fading in and out the plot, unravelling it as we march down memory lane.
A truly enjoyable read
Published 12 months ago by Bloodybliss
5.0 out of 5 stars UNUSUAL PLOT
A very original plot and an insight into a person's descent into total confusion when in the grip of dementia. I would highly recommend this book.
Published 14 months ago by Janet Bunn
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read!
I enjoyed this book. From the first few pages it had me gripped by the unusual storyline. I was intrigued by it, and could not put it down. Read more
Published 15 months ago by flossy
5.0 out of 5 stars turn of mind book
I bought this book as a christmas present for my Auntie and she is very pleased with it. She said it was a great book, a very good read.
Published 16 months ago by sarah wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars A true insight into the spiral of Alzheimers
This book gripped me from the start, I have some knowledge of dementia and everything seemed "just right" regarding the way Jennifers insight into both her condition and past... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Pat Stott
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Very confusing book went on too long very american could not identify with any of the characters little emotion involved
Published 16 months ago by Robert Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Found this book slightly odd at first, but very quickly got into it and then didn't want ot put it down. I understand it is a debut novel, can't wait for her next one. Read more
Published 17 months ago by J. montgomery
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