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Turn of Mind [Kindle Edition]

Alice LaPlante
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jennifer White can't remember whether she murdered her best friend

Dr Jennifer White, a once brilliant surgeon, is slowly losing her mind.

Amanda, her best friend, is found stabbed to death. Four of her fingers have been expertly removed.

Suspicion immediately falls on Jennifer.

How can she prove her innocence when even she doesn't know if she's the murderer?

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A "New York Times" BestsellerWinner of the Wellcome Trust Book PrizeA "New York Times" and "Booklist" Editor's ChoiceAn NPR, "Vogue," "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel," and "Globe and Mail" Summer Reading PickA "San Francisco Chronicle" 2011 Holiday Gift Guide Selection Best Book of the Year: "Newsday" 10 Best Thriller and Mystery Books"Washington Post" Notable Fiction"The Guardian" Best Thrillers"Kirkus Reviews" Top 25 Best in Fiction"Globe and Mail" Best Mysteries and ThrillersShelf Awareness Top 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" "Unforgettable . . . It sounds like an almost impossible task: to write a murder mystery from the perspective of a suspect with Alzheimer's. And yet LaPlante pulls it off and with flair. . . . Jennifer is a hard, funny, acerbic woman when she is able to marshal her wandering wits. . . . Fragmented and disorienting . . . [A] distressingly believable portrait of a mind sinking into dementia." "The Guardian "(UK) 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 friendshipas 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 "Provocative . . . Nervy and stylish . . . What lingers in the reader's mind is not so much the resolution of the plot as the resilience of Jennifer's character. . . . Alzheimer's patients reshape those around them in ways that transcend anguish and frustration. As the best parts of Turn of Mind reveal, the disease opens us to the very things that make us human." "AARP" magazine "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 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"


"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: 1369 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • 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:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,796 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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6 of 6 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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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told whodunnit with a difference
This is a story about a lady with alzheimers who is suspected of murdering her friend. Through a wonderful structure of flashbacks we learn the story of her friendship and also the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alison Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A bitter sweet novel which leaves all we 60 somethings thinking we, too have the beginninga of dementia.
Published 6 months ago by S. MatthewsWallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant inciteful novel
Published 12 months ago by Elise Haites
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit of an odd story, read most of it ...
Bit of an odd story, read most of it as it was a designated read for the book club that I belong to, probably wouldn't have bought it otherwise.
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. Laraine S. Nash
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good book
Published 14 months ago by Mr H I Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
This book has been on my tbr since it first came out. I'm glad to have have finally read it. I did enjoy the book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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 19 months 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 22 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 on 12 Jun. 2013 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 on 2 April 2013 by Bloodybliss
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