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Origin

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Origin 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:

A fingerprint expert's investigation of a series of crib deaths leads her back to the mystery of her own childhood.

Lena is a fingerprint expert at a crime lab in the small city of Syracuse, New York, where winters are cold and deep. Suddenly, a series of crib deaths — indistinguishable from SIDS except for the fevered testimony of one distraught mother with connections in high places — draws the attention of the police and the national media and raises the possibility of the inconceivable: could there be a serial infant murderer on the loose?

Orphaned as a child, out of place as an adult, gifted with delicate and terrifying powers of intuition, Lena finds herself playing a critical role in the case. But then there is the mystery of her own childhood to solve....Could the improbable deaths of a half-dozen babies be somehow connected to her own improbable survival?

The beauty and originality of Diana Abu-Jaber's writing are here accompanied by deft, page-turning narrative tension and atmosphere, tugging the reader to an unforgettable conclusion.

Review:

"Abu-Jaber, who dealt with Arab-American themes in her earlier novels, Crescent and Arabian Jazz, shows her versatility in this gripping contemporary thriller. A spike in the number of local SIDS deaths piques the interest of Lena Dawson, a fingerprint specialist at a Syracuse, N.Y., forensics lab. Is it a statistical fluke or is there a killer at work? Determined to account for the dead infants, Lena joins the investigation, which stirs tantalizing memories from her dimly recollected early childhood. Despite her fragile mental state, Lena proves capable of surprising resolve. Her relationship with her protective ex-husband, her budding romance with a detective and her quest for her own lost past add psychological depth. Abu-Jaber's lovely nuanced prose conveys the chill of an upstate New York winter as well as it does Lena's drab existence before she was drawn into the mystery of the crib deaths. This enthralling puzzle will appeal to both crime fans and readers of literary fiction. 9-city author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"At the beginning of this wonderful novel, 6-year-old Lena sits with Pia, her foster mother, watching an old Tarzan movie on television. 'I sat, openmouthed,' Lena remembers as an adult, 'watching the man, the woman, the birds, the tiger, the leaves. And finally she was there, the one I'd waited for, had known would come eventually. I jumped up, crying, "Mama! Mama!"' Lena's not pointing to Jane, but... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Abu-Jaber has created a literary mystery that weaves an intriguing psychological character study with a tense and compelling plot that results in a rewarding finish. Lena is a flawed but appealing protagonist; let's hope she surfaces in sequels. Recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Abu-Jaber crafts an utterly magnetic story....Readers seeking gorgeously rendered fiction as well as intelligent and atmospheric mysteries will find Origin extraordinary." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Abu-Jaber transcends formula, weaving the whodunit in prose as evocative as poetry....Haunted, moving crime fiction." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Abu-Jaber's lyrical, intelligent writing makes Origin outstanding. But it is her aptitude for plotting and character development that further elevates Origin." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Review:

"Haunting and compelling....It's a little film noir, a bit independent-woman-detective thriller, and winningly fresh in its approach." Miami Herald

Review:

"[A] thoughtful, multi-layered novel." Seattle Times

Synopsis:

"Finally, a novel of literary suspense that gets almost everything right--forensically and psychologically."--Sarah Weinman, Baltimore Sun

Synopsis:

In this "mystery of cold beauty and dark isolation, written with crystalline precision" (Miami Herald), a series of crib deaths in Syracuse, New York, draws the attention of police and national media. Is a serial infant murderer at large?

A "haunting story, icy cold in its upstate New York setting but glowing with the unusual brightness of its heroine" (Eugene Weekly), Origin stars a solitary fingerprint examiner who finds herself playing a critical role in the case. Diana Abu-Jaber, a "gifted and graceful writer" (Chicago Tribune), masterfully "transcends formula" (Kirkus Reviews) as "the tension of Origin escalates, shaped as much by beautifully nuanced prose as menacing events" (New York Daily News). Reading group guide included.

About the Author

Diana Abu-Jaber is the author of Crescent, Arabian Jazz, and The Language of Baklava. She divides her time between Portland, Oregon, and Miami, Florida.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

W S Krauss, November 25, 2011 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
I found this novel to be satisfying on several levels. It is a mystery surrounding a series of apparent SIDS deaths involving babies living near Syracuse, NY. The main character, Lena Dawson, is a fingerprint expert and supposedly intuitive about evidence, especially in cases involving children. As she helps investigate whether a baby killer is lurking around Syracuse, Lena is drawn into the mystery of her own beginnings. Taken in as a foster child by her parents as a very young child, she is haunted by memories of an ape mother comforting her before her rescue. Lena has many questions to investigate about the deaths of the babies and of her own history. The story did have a few flaws; but, overall I enjoyed the mystery and the characters.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
W S Krauss, November 25, 2011 (view all comments by W S Krauss)
I found this novel to be satisfying on several levels. It is a mystery surrounding a series of apparent SIDS deaths involving babies living near Syracuse, NY. The main character, Lena Dawson, is a fingerprint expert and supposedly intuitive about evidence, especially in cases involving children. As she helps investigate whether a baby killer is lurking around Syracuse, Lena is drawn into the mystery of her own beginnings. Taken in as a foster child by her parents as a very young child, she is haunted by memories of an ape mother comforting her before her rescue. Lena has many questions to investigate about the deaths of the babies and of her own history. The story did have a few flaws; but, overall I enjoyed the mystery and the characters.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Clark, July 9, 2008 (view all comments by Clark)
Origin is one of the most creative and original books that I have ever read. Diana Abu-Jaber is very talented, she is a great writer. This book is impossible to predict, which makes it worth your time and money. Origin is one of my all time favorite books. Trust me on this book, you will like it.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780393331554
Author:
Abu-Jaber, Diana
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
Subject:
Infants
Subject:
Serial murderers
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Origin Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.00 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Norton - English 9780393331554 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Abu-Jaber, who dealt with Arab-American themes in her earlier novels, Crescent and Arabian Jazz, shows her versatility in this gripping contemporary thriller. A spike in the number of local SIDS deaths piques the interest of Lena Dawson, a fingerprint specialist at a Syracuse, N.Y., forensics lab. Is it a statistical fluke or is there a killer at work? Determined to account for the dead infants, Lena joins the investigation, which stirs tantalizing memories from her dimly recollected early childhood. Despite her fragile mental state, Lena proves capable of surprising resolve. Her relationship with her protective ex-husband, her budding romance with a detective and her quest for her own lost past add psychological depth. Abu-Jaber's lovely nuanced prose conveys the chill of an upstate New York winter as well as it does Lena's drab existence before she was drawn into the mystery of the crib deaths. This enthralling puzzle will appeal to both crime fans and readers of literary fiction. 9-city author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Abu-Jaber has created a literary mystery that weaves an intriguing psychological character study with a tense and compelling plot that results in a rewarding finish. Lena is a flawed but appealing protagonist; let's hope she surfaces in sequels. Recommended."
"Review" by , "Abu-Jaber crafts an utterly magnetic story....Readers seeking gorgeously rendered fiction as well as intelligent and atmospheric mysteries will find Origin extraordinary."
"Review" by , "Abu-Jaber transcends formula, weaving the whodunit in prose as evocative as poetry....Haunted, moving crime fiction."
"Review" by , "Abu-Jaber's lyrical, intelligent writing makes Origin outstanding. But it is her aptitude for plotting and character development that further elevates Origin."
"Review" by , "Haunting and compelling....It's a little film noir, a bit independent-woman-detective thriller, and winningly fresh in its approach."
"Review" by , "[A] thoughtful, multi-layered novel."
"Synopsis" by , "Finally, a novel of literary suspense that gets almost everything right--forensically and psychologically."--Sarah Weinman, Baltimore Sun
"Synopsis" by , In this "mystery of cold beauty and dark isolation, written with crystalline precision" (Miami Herald), a series of crib deaths in Syracuse, New York, draws the attention of police and national media. Is a serial infant murderer at large?

A "haunting story, icy cold in its upstate New York setting but glowing with the unusual brightness of its heroine" (Eugene Weekly), Origin stars a solitary fingerprint examiner who finds herself playing a critical role in the case. Diana Abu-Jaber, a "gifted and graceful writer" (Chicago Tribune), masterfully "transcends formula" (Kirkus Reviews) as "the tension of Origin escalates, shaped as much by beautifully nuanced prose as menacing events" (New York Daily News). Reading group guide included.

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