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Kiss : a Memoir (97 Edition)

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Kiss : a Memoir (97 Edition) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

We meet at airports. We meet in cities where we've never been before. We meet where no one will recognize us.

A "man of God" is how someone described my father to me. I don't remember who. Not my mother. I'm young enough that I take the words to mean he has magical properties and that he is good, better than other people.

With his hand under my chin, my father draws my face toward his own. He touches his lips to mine. I stiffen.

I am frightened by the kiss. I know it wrong, and its wrongness is what lets me know, too, that it is a secret.

Review:

"Few memoirs receive the amount of prepublication hype that surrounds this slim and powerful autobiography by a writer whose lurid, psychologically vivid novels (Exposure, etc.) have portrayed sexual abuse, cruel power games and extreme, self-destructive behavior. Harrison here turns an unflinching eye on the episode in her life that has most influenced those books: a secret, sexual affair with her father that began when she was 20. Not surprisingly, the book is unremittingly novelistic: it unfolds in an impressionistic series of flashbacks and is told in the present tense in prose that is brutally spare and so emotionally numb as to suggest that recounting the affair is for Harrison is the psychological equivalent of reliving it. Abandoned by her father as a child, neglected by an emotionally remote and impetuous mother, Harrison is raised by her grandparents. She retreats at a young age into a complex interior life marked by religious fixations, bouts of anorexia and self-injury, rage at her callous mother and obsession with her absent father. A minister and amateur cameraman, her father visits Harrison after an absence of 10 years, when she is home from college on spring break. The boundary between flirtation and paternal affection is soon blurred, as her father lavishly dotes on her and, in parting, kisses her sexually on the mouth. A relationship of passionate promises, obsessive long-distance phone calls and letters then flourishes, as her father, presented here as ghoulishly predatory, relentlessly draws her into his web. Gradually consenting to his demands for sex, Harrison drops out of college and moves in with her father's new family, extricating herself from the affair only when her mother is stricken with metastatic breast cancer. Throughout the book, Harrison omits names, dates and locations, shrewdly fashioning these dark events into a kind of Old Testament nightmare in which incest is just one of a host of physical trials, from pneumonia to shingles, self-cutting and bulimia. If Harrison sacrifices objectivity in places for a mode of storytelling engineered for maximum shock value, most readers still will find this book remarkable for both the startling events it portrays and the unbridled force of the writing." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"I am in awe — no other word will do — of the courage it took to write this book, and the art." Tobias Wolff, author of This Boy's Life

Review:

"Appalling but beautifully written...jumping back and forth in time yet drawing you irresistibly toward the heart of a great evil." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

Review:

"Every sentence strikes and burns and scars, like lightening in the heart's darkest tempest." Bob Shacochis, author of Swimming in the Volcano

Review:

"The bravery in Harrison's raw, clear voice will stay with me a long time. I couldn't stop reading this. I'll never stop remembering it." Mary Karr, author of The Liar's Club

Review:

"Every now and then a book comes along that disturbs, disrupts, and polarizes the public in new ways." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[F]or all the ink spilled, all the heat this book has generated before ever seeing the inside of a bookstore, there's not much here to raise anyone's temperature. Those who pick up The Kiss looking for sweaty-palmed titillation be warned: You'll find more sizzle at a backyard barbecue....The Kiss is not long on flash or useful revelation. Maybe Harrison needed to write it, to exorcise those family demons (though she's done this at least once before, and in more detail, in her novel Thicker Than Water). Maybe. But when her demons go, they go quietly, and it's up to publishing's PR machine — and readers hypersensitized to a hot topic — to supply the pyrotechnics the book itself lacks." Jennifer Howard, Salon.com

Review:

"[P]owerful writing, not about desire or passion, but about abandonment and rage." Kirkus Review

Synopsis:

In this extraordinary memoir, one of the best young writers in America today transforms into a work of art the darkest passage imaginable in a young woman's life: an obsessive love affair between father and daughter that began when Kathryn Harrison, twenty years old, was reunited with the father whose absence had haunted her youth. Exquisitely and hypnotically written, like a bold and terrifying dream, The Kiss is breathtaking in its honesty and in the power and beauty of its creation. A story both of taboo and of family complicity in breaking taboo, The Kiss is also about love — about the most primal of love triangles, the one that ensnares a child between mother and father.

About the Author

Kathryn Harrison is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her first novel, Thicker Than Water, was a New York Times Notable Book of 1991. Her second novel, Exposure, was also a New York Times Notable Book, and a national bestseller. She lives in New York City with her husband, the writer Colin Harrison.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Kelly A, April 19, 2010 (view all comments by Kelly A)
Searing is the best adjective for this book. The imagery is completely unblinking and the reader is powerless to look away.
It inhabits acres of gray on the subject that is very easily seen in black and white, right or wrong terms.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
meredycat, April 26, 2008 (view all comments by meredycat)
This book really opened my eyes about the different ways incest can affect someone. The Kiss is a haunting, touching read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
amik, September 10, 2007 (view all comments by amik)
hidden pession
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780380731473
Author:
Harrison, Kathryn
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
by Kathryn Harrison
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Abuse
Subject:
Women novelists, American
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
Incest
Subject:
Incest victims
Subject:
Authors, American -- Biography.
Subject:
Abuse - General
Subject:
Women novelists, American - 20th century
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Edition Number:
1st Bard printing.
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series Volume:
14
Publication Date:
19980631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
7.98x5.24x.56 in. .39 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
Biography » Women
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Health and Self-Help » Abuse » General
Health and Self-Help » Abuse » Personal Stories
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Sexual Abuse
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General

Kiss : a Memoir (97 Edition) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.00 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Perennial - English 9780380731473 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Few memoirs receive the amount of prepublication hype that surrounds this slim and powerful autobiography by a writer whose lurid, psychologically vivid novels (Exposure, etc.) have portrayed sexual abuse, cruel power games and extreme, self-destructive behavior. Harrison here turns an unflinching eye on the episode in her life that has most influenced those books: a secret, sexual affair with her father that began when she was 20. Not surprisingly, the book is unremittingly novelistic: it unfolds in an impressionistic series of flashbacks and is told in the present tense in prose that is brutally spare and so emotionally numb as to suggest that recounting the affair is for Harrison is the psychological equivalent of reliving it. Abandoned by her father as a child, neglected by an emotionally remote and impetuous mother, Harrison is raised by her grandparents. She retreats at a young age into a complex interior life marked by religious fixations, bouts of anorexia and self-injury, rage at her callous mother and obsession with her absent father. A minister and amateur cameraman, her father visits Harrison after an absence of 10 years, when she is home from college on spring break. The boundary between flirtation and paternal affection is soon blurred, as her father lavishly dotes on her and, in parting, kisses her sexually on the mouth. A relationship of passionate promises, obsessive long-distance phone calls and letters then flourishes, as her father, presented here as ghoulishly predatory, relentlessly draws her into his web. Gradually consenting to his demands for sex, Harrison drops out of college and moves in with her father's new family, extricating herself from the affair only when her mother is stricken with metastatic breast cancer. Throughout the book, Harrison omits names, dates and locations, shrewdly fashioning these dark events into a kind of Old Testament nightmare in which incest is just one of a host of physical trials, from pneumonia to shingles, self-cutting and bulimia. If Harrison sacrifices objectivity in places for a mode of storytelling engineered for maximum shock value, most readers still will find this book remarkable for both the startling events it portrays and the unbridled force of the writing." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "I am in awe — no other word will do — of the courage it took to write this book, and the art."
"Review" by , "Appalling but beautifully written...jumping back and forth in time yet drawing you irresistibly toward the heart of a great evil."
"Review" by , "Every sentence strikes and burns and scars, like lightening in the heart's darkest tempest."
"Review" by , "The bravery in Harrison's raw, clear voice will stay with me a long time. I couldn't stop reading this. I'll never stop remembering it."
"Review" by , "Every now and then a book comes along that disturbs, disrupts, and polarizes the public in new ways."
"Review" by , "[F]or all the ink spilled, all the heat this book has generated before ever seeing the inside of a bookstore, there's not much here to raise anyone's temperature. Those who pick up The Kiss looking for sweaty-palmed titillation be warned: You'll find more sizzle at a backyard barbecue....The Kiss is not long on flash or useful revelation. Maybe Harrison needed to write it, to exorcise those family demons (though she's done this at least once before, and in more detail, in her novel Thicker Than Water). Maybe. But when her demons go, they go quietly, and it's up to publishing's PR machine — and readers hypersensitized to a hot topic — to supply the pyrotechnics the book itself lacks."
"Review" by , "[P]owerful writing, not about desire or passion, but about abandonment and rage."
"Synopsis" by , In this extraordinary memoir, one of the best young writers in America today transforms into a work of art the darkest passage imaginable in a young woman's life: an obsessive love affair between father and daughter that began when Kathryn Harrison, twenty years old, was reunited with the father whose absence had haunted her youth. Exquisitely and hypnotically written, like a bold and terrifying dream, The Kiss is breathtaking in its honesty and in the power and beauty of its creation. A story both of taboo and of family complicity in breaking taboo, The Kiss is also about love — about the most primal of love triangles, the one that ensnares a child between mother and father.
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