Synopses & Reviews
A stunning first novel, both literary and thriller, about a retired orthopedic surgeon with dementia, Turn of Mind
has already received worldwide attention. With unmatched patience and a pulsating intensity, Alice LaPlante brings us deep into a brilliant woman's deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse.
As the book opens, Dr. Jennifer White's best friend, Amanda, who lived down the block, has been killed, and four fingers surgically removed from her hand. Dr. White is the prime suspect and she herself doesn't know whether she did it. Told in White's own voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between these life-long friends — two proud, forceful women who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries. As the investigation into the murder deepens and White's relationships with her live-in caretaker and two grown children intensify, a chilling question lingers: is White's shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her to hide it?
A startling portrait of a disintegrating mind clinging to bits of reality through anger, frustration, shame, and unspeakable loss, Turn of Mind is a remarkable debut that examines the deception and frailty of memory and how it defines our very existence.
"LaPlante's impressive first novel sensitively explores the mental disintegration of widowed 64-year-old Jennifer White, a once-lauded Chicago hand surgeon, who charts her own experiences with Alzheimer's both consciously, in notes she writes to herself and thoughts she shares, and unconsciously, as she records conversations and actions she witnesses but doesn't understand. When someone fatally bludgeons Jennifer's best friend, 75-year-old Amanda O'Toole, who lives just three doors away, suspicion falls on Jennifer because the killer surgically removed four fingers from Amanda's right hand. In a satisfying twist, Jennifer honestly doesn't know herself whether she committed the murder. Jennifer's 29-year-old lawyer son, Mark, wishes to have his mother declared mentally incompetent, while her 24-year-old daughter, Fiona, a sweet, loving flake, and her full-time caretaker, Magdalena, act out of less selfish motives. Mystery fans should be prepared for a subtle literary novel in which the unfolding of Jennifer's condition and of her past matters far more than the whodunit. 16-city author tour. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Turn of Mind is a uniquely entertaining murder mystery. Alice LaPlante's portrayal of the prime suspect's escalating dementia, told from her point of view, is gripping, unnerving, and utterly brilliant." Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice
"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, author of Afterburn and Risk
"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 Reviews(Starred Review)
"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 novel — and yet it is. I'll read whatever LaPlante writes next, and the sooner the better." Ann Packer, author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier
About the Author
Alice LaPlante is an award-winning writer who teaches at San Francisco State University and Stanford University, where she was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and held a Jones Lectureship. Raised in Chicago, she now lives with her family in Northern California.