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Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
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Turn of Mind (edition 2012)

by Alice LaPlante

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7888011,673 (3.83)56
Member:cmasson17
Title:Turn of Mind
Authors:Alice LaPlante
Info:Grove Press (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

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  1. 20
    Still Alice by Lisa Genova (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: This book also deals with a well educated woman coping with dementia
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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
A stunningly inventive mystery with the ultimate unreliable narrator -- a woman suffering with Alzheimers. Brilliant surgeon Dr. Jennifer White has recently retired due to the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Her best friend and neighbor Amanda has been murdered and police suspect Jennifer because the victim has four fingers removed with surgical precision, but Jennifer doesn't know whether or not she did it. In fact, most days she cannot remember that her friend is dead. Over the course of the novel, clues to the crime are revealed as Jennifer's memories come and go. The investigation continues even as Jennifer's memory slowly but inexorably slips away. Masterful! This was one of my favorite books of the year. ( )
  vnesting | Oct 26, 2014 |
This book has been on my tbr since it first came out. I'm glad to have have finally read it. I did enjoy the book. I have some personal experience with dementia and currently am watching two friends going through it with loved ones. The book is extremely readable and a quick read in that it has no chapters but is written in very short paragraphs which are journal entries, thoughts from the patient's mind and dialogues. There are no quotation marks though, so sometimes it can be confusing as to which method is being used though the use of italics at times does help. This is an extremely intriguing way to get inside someone's head and I find these types of literary devices very rewarding. Personally I find the most satisfaction from characterization within a book and can happily read a book where nothing happens as long as it is filled with interesting people and here in Turn of Mind, not a lot really does happen. There is the plot, the murder, the Alzheimer's patient (Dr. White) is the main suspect and from beginning to end we find out 'whodunit', but as a mystery/thriller reader I found that part of the plot dull. What I did enjoy and find fascinating was seeing where Dr. White's mind went, what triggered certain remembrances, sudden outbursts, just how much she was aware what was happening to her and at other times how utterly terrified and helpless she was. Even though I would call this a slow story, it was a quick read and kept me steadily attached to its pages, having a hard time thinking of little else. If you don't mind a meandering story with a unique variety of narrative devices, for those with any interest in dementia this proves to be a thought-provoking read. ( )
  ElizaJane | Jun 16, 2014 |
One of the most original mysteries of the last several years. Memento meets The Woman Upstairs. The most unnerving aspect of the book is the narrator, Dr. Jennifer White's, descent into Alzheimer's. The interesting aspect is that, like in Memento, not only can the reader not rely on the narrator but the narrator cannot rely on themselves. Dr. White has fragmented recollections from various time periods from which she weaves her own reality. Even in her moments of clarity, we are uncertain how much to rely on the information provided by others around her, who are aware of her damaged and malleable memory. Interwoven through the narrative is an interesting family drama, hidden secrets, choices made, opportunities taken and untaken, complicated friendships and loves. The book loses its tightness in the 3rd quarter and the ending feels a little too pat or forced. The book may have benefited from ambiguity in which the reader was left to stitch together what they believed to be the truth from the mosaics provided by the narrator. ( )
  RDHawk6886 | Feb 16, 2014 |
When I began to read I thought, "Hmm, good writing." Pretty soon, I couldn't put it down. I never thought I'd say that about a book told from the point of view of a woman with Alzheimer's, but this one's a page-turner.

Petrea Burchard
Camelot & Vine ( )
  PetreaBurchard | Feb 9, 2014 |
Dr. Jennifer White has Alzheimer's and is a person of interest in the murder of her friend and neighbor Amanda O'Toole.
Turn of Mind is told from Dr. Jennifer White's perspective in first, second, and third person. Sometimes, we may be just as confused as she as the writing skillfully takes all over the place. At the end of the book, the mystery is solved and we discover the circumstances under which Amanda O'Toole died. ( )
  sar96 | Jan 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
. LaPlante tells the story poignantly, gracefully and artistically...Despite the near stream-of-consciousness, Faulknerian Sound and Fury presentation, the narrative is easily followed to the resolution of the mystery and White’s ultimate melancholy and inevitable end.

A haunting story masterfully told.
 
For us, the supposedly normal, seeing the truth through the scrim of an unreliable perspective makes the story more layered and, paradoxically, its meaning clearer....

"Turn of Mind" has its own contemporary twist on this device. ...So how does LaPlante, who teaches writing at Stanford and San Francisco State, pull a story out of someone with no memory? In a word: deftly.
 
Alzheimer's disease doesn't seem like a great subject for a page-turner. Affecting 10% of us over 65 and 50% older than 85, it inspires dread in the culture. And yet a page-turner is exactly what Alice LaPlante has crafted with "Turn of Mind," a novel told from the point of view of a woman with dementia. LaPlante manages to take hold of the aforementioned dread and modulate it, creating a startling range and texture of fear. From agonizing, slow-motion-car-crash moments to the ironic frissons of a good horror movie, she hits every bell.
 
Turn of Mind is a debut novel by Alice LaPlante billed as a "literary thriller": that it sure is.... what bumps Turn of Mind up into the exalted Daphne du Maurier/Ruth Rendell category of "literary thriller" is LaPlante's fearless and compassionate investigation into the erosion of her main character's mind. ..If this were a straight work of literary fiction, that grim storyline might be too hard to stick with; but, that's where the suspense formula rescues this tale from despair.
 
Unreliable narrators come in many shapes...And then there is Dr. Jennifer White, who narrates Alice LaPlante’s first novel. By the time “Turn of Mind” begins, she is losing her wits to Alzheimer’s disease and is the prime suspect in her best friend’s murder. She is as unreliable as they come. ...Alzheimer’s is bleak territory, and to saddle Jennifer with suspected murder seems cruel and unusual punishment. But in LaPlante’s vivid prose, her waning mind proves a prism instead of a prison, her memory refracted to rich, sensual effect. ....The twists and turns of mind this novel charts are haunting and original.
 
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For Alice Gervase O'Neill LaPlante
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Something has happened. You can always tell. You come to and find wreckage: a smashed lamp, a devastated human face that shivers on the verge of being recongnizable. Occasionally someone in uniform: a paramedic, a nurse. A hand extended with a pill. Or poised to insert a needle.
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Book description
My name is Dr. Jennifer White. I am sixty-four years old. I have dementia. My son, Mark, is twenty-nine. My daughter, Fiona, twenty-four. A caregiver, Magdalena, lives with me.

Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind is a spellbinding novel about the disintegration of a strong woman's mind and the unhinging of her family. Dr. Jennifer White, recently widowed and a newly retired orthopedic surgeon, is entering the beginning stages of dementia — where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse.

As the story opens, Jennifer's life-long friend and neighbor, Amanda, has been killed, and four fingers surgically removed. Dr. White is the prime suspect in the murder and she herself doesn't know if she did it or not. Narrated in her voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between this pair — two proud, forceful women who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries.

The women's thirty-year friendship deeply entangled their families, and as the narrative unfolds we see that things were not always as they seemed. Jennifer's deceased husband, James, is clearly not the scion he was thought to be. Her two grown children — Mark, a lawyer, and Fiona, a professor, who now have power over their mother's medical and financial decisions respectively — have agendas of their own. And Magdalena, her brusque live-in caretaker, has a past she hides. As the investigation intensifies, a chilling question persists: Is Dr. Jennifer White's shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her to hide it?

Told through the voice of a woman with a powerful intellect that is maddeningly slipping away, Turn of Mind is not only a suspenseful psychological thriller that pulses with intensity, but also a brilliant portrayal of the fragility of consciousness and memory, and of a mind finally turning on itself.

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802119778, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Implicated in the murder of her best friend, Jennifer White, a brilliant retired surgeon with dementia, struggles with fractured memories of their complex relationship and wonders if she actually committed the crime.

(summary from another edition)

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