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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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8779010,108 (3.82)58
Member:angelswing
Title:Turn of Mind
Authors:Alice LaPlante
Info:Grove Press (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
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Work details

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

  1. 20
    Still Alice by Lisa Genova (tangledthread, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    tangledthread: This book also deals with a well educated woman coping with dementia
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Unlike the psychologically suspenseful mystery Turn of Mind, Still Alice is mainstream fiction. Despite differences in plot, genre, and feel, both sensitively portray the disorientation and disintegrating memory of Alzheimer's patients.… (more)
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English (86)  Dutch (3)  Italian (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
At the heart of Turn of Mind is a murder mystery – a woman is dead and her best friend is the primary suspect. But the most intriguing part to me was watching a once-brilliant mind dissolve into fragments due to Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Jennifer White was a prominent orthopedic surgeon who has to retire after she is diagnosed with the disease. The story is told from her viewpoint, which may be lucid, in the past, angry, or remembering events that happened years ago. However, she has no recollection of the night her friend Amanda was murdered. Was she involved ? A good question, but it seems minor, as Jennifer struggles with her day-to-day existence. Is this my son , or just a handsome stranger ? Why can’t I walk down the street in a rainstorm at midnight ? Yet she’s still a doctor, and remembers details of anatomy and surgeries from the past.
Is this what Alzheimer’s is like ? Maybe – I hope I never have to find out. But I would recommend Turn of Mind to anyone who wanted insight into dementia and its effects.
( )
  lauri804 | Apr 21, 2016 |
I enjoyed the story of a 64 yr old doctor (orthopedic surgeon) suffering from early onset Alzheimers who is accused of murdering her best friend and neighbor of decades. She becomes a person of interest because the body was found with 4 fingers removed. However, it is told from her point of view which is deliberately confusing because of her mental state. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
I enjoyed the story of a 64 yr old doctor (orthopedic surgeon) suffering from early onset Alzheimers who is accused of murdering her best friend and neighbor of decades. She becomes a person of interest because the body was found with 4 fingers removed. However, it is told from her point of view which is deliberately confusing because of her mental state. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
I really loved the first-person (and sometimes second-person) narrative of a woman suffering with Alzheimer's. The texture of the story, with memory weaving in and out of even a single encounter, struck me as insightful, compassionate, and brutally unsentimental. The murder mystery was okay, but not necessary, in my estimation. The real mystery was in the rest of the story; much deeper and much more universal. Beautiful writing. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Sixty-four year old, Jennifer White, was a renowned hand surgeon until Alzheimer's took hold of her mind and she was forced into early retirement. Her best friend, Amanda has been found dead with four fingers removed and Jennifer is the major suspect.

Told from Jennifer's confused point of view, the reader catches glimpses of her brilliance as a doctor but also suffers with her as she struggles to stay in control becoming more confused, angry and childlike. Like Jennifer's mind, the paragraphs are jumbled allowing the reader insight into her past and present life as she moves in and out of varying periods of time. Although an unreliable narrator, the essence of Jennifer shines through - her strength, determination and intelligence.

'Turn of Mind' is not a crime thriller nor is it an uplifting book, but it is fascinating and tragic as we watch the demise of Jennifer's mind until it reaches its unrelenting end. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:14 -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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