Excerpt from Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Turn of Mind

by Alice LaPlante

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


We save some of them, but most are limp cold bodies to be flushed down the toilet. His rapture is not dimmed, he stares fascinated as the last of the red gold tails gets sucked out of sight. Even when his sister discovers her loss he is unrepentant. No. More than that. Proud. Perpetrator of a dozen tiny slaughters on an otherwise quiet Tuesday afternoon.

This-man-who-they-say-is-my-son settles himself in the blue armchair near the window in the living room. He loosens his tie, stretches out his legs, makes himself at home.

Magdalena tells me you've been well, he says.

Very, I say, stiffly. As well as a person in my condition can be. Tell me about that, he says.

About what? I ask.

About how aware you are of what's happening to you.

Everyone asks that, I say. They are astonished that I can be so aware, so very...

Clinical, he says.

Yes.

You always were, he says. He has a wry smile, not unappealing. When I broke my arm, you were more interested in my bone density than in getting me to the hospital.

I remember someone breaking his arm, I say. Mark. It was Mark. Mark fell out of the maple tree in front of the Janeckis'.

I'm Mark.

You? Mark?

Yes. Your son.

I have a son?

Yes. Mark. Me.

I have a son! I am struck dumb. I have a son! I am filled with ecstasy. Joy!

Mom, please, don't . . .

But I am overwhelmed. All these years! I had a son and never knew it! The man is now kneeling at my feet, holding me.

It's okay, Mom. I'm here.

I hold on to him tightly. A fine young man and, wondrous of all, conceived by me. There is something not quite right about his face, a flaw in his beauty. But to my eyes, this makes him even more beloved.

Mom, he says after a moment. His arms around me loosen, he pulls back.

I miss the warmth immediately but reluctantly let go and sit back in my chair.

Mom, I had something really important to say. It's about Fiona. He is standing now, and his face is back to the dark, watchful look he wore when he entered. I know that look.

What about her? I ask. My tone is not welcoming.

Mom, I know you don't want to hear this, but she's gone off again. You know how she gets.

I do know, but I don't answer. I have never encouraged this telling of tales.

This time it's bad. Really bad. She won't talk to me. You used to be able to talk her down. Dad, sometimes. But she listened to you. Do you think you could speak to her? He pauses. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Where have you been, you bastard? I ask.

What?

After all these years, you come here and say these things?

Shhh, Mom. It's okay. I'm right here. I never left.

What do you mean? I've been alone. All alone in this house. Eating dinner alone, going to bed alone. So alone.

That's just not true, Mom. Until just last year there was Dad. And what about Magdalena?

Who? Magdalena. Your friend. The woman who lives with you.

Oh. Her. She's not my friend. She gets paid. I pay her.

That doesn't mean she's not your friend.

Yes, it certainly does. Suddenly I'm angry. Furious! You bastard! I say.

You abandoned me!

The man slowly gets to his feet and sighs heavily. Magdalena! he calls.

Did you hear me? Bastard!

I heard you, Mom. He looks around, searching for something. My coat, he says. Have you seen my coat?

A woman hurries into the room. Blond. A woman of heft. Better go, she says. Quickly. Here's your coat. Yes. Thanks for coming.

Excerpted from Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante. Copyright © 2011 by Alice LaPlante. Excerpted by permission of Atlantic Monthly Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Music of the Ghosts
    Music of the Ghosts
    by Vaddey Ratner
    Music of the Ghosts is about healing and forgiveness, but it is also about identity and the revival ...
  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -