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Turn of Mind Paperback – 16 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (16 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009955366X
  • ISBN-13: 978-8171677818
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 254,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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, author of 'Before I Go to Sleep')

"A spiralling descent into loss and deceit that leaves the reader breathless. Chilling, memorable and heartbreaking" (Val McDermid)

"Unforgettable" (Observer)

"Haunting and original" (New York Times Book Review)

"Really terrific - ambitious, clever and human" (Nicci French)

Book Description

Winner of the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger - Turn of Mind is a stunning debut novel about a woman with Alzheimers who is accused of murdering her best friend

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 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 By Maggie VINE VOICE on 5 July 2011
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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 By JK TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 19 Jun 2011
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 By Lincs Reader TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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