Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

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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.

About Alice LaPlante

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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.
Published July 5, 2011 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Turn of Mind

The New York Times

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If no one is quite what they seem, it is because everyone — and everything — is variable to Jennifer.

Jul 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Turn of Mind

The Guardian

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How did you come to write Turn of Mind?My mother has Alzheimer's, so it's a topic we've been dealing with as a family for nearly a decade.

Sep 11 2012 | Read Full Review of Turn of Mind


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But, all jokes stop when Dr. White, in conversation with a police detective, obligingly opens a piano bench stuffed with junk and shows the detective where she has buried her surgical scalpel — the one that's most suitable for amputating fingers.LaPlante's turn on the suspense formula is especial...

Jul 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Turn of Mind

Entertainment Weekly

The story is told from the perspective of Dr. Jennifer White, once an intellectually commanding orthopedic surgeon, now — and here's the gimmick — a fast-deteriorating Alzheimer's patient.

Jun 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Turn of Mind

Amanda O'Toole has been murdered and four of her fingers were surgically removed. The police suspect the victim's best friend, Dr. Jennifer White, but Jennifer is suff

May 15 2014 | Read Full Review of Turn of Mind

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