Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

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A retired orthopedic surgeon with Alzheimer's. Alice LaPlante, whose mother suffers from Alzheimers, brings us deep into a brilliant woman's deteriorating mind, where the impossibility of recognizing reality can be both a blessing and a curse. 


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Both a literary and thriller, about a retired orthopedic surgeon with dementia, Turn of Mind has already received worldwide attention. With patience and intensity, Alice LaPlante brings us deep into a brilliant woman's deteriorating mind. A startling portrait of a disintegrating mind clinging to bits of reality through anger, frustration, shame, and unspeakable loss. A remarkable examination of the deception and frailty of memory and how it defines our very existence.

A murder mystery with a twist. Its narrator, Dr. Jennifer White may have killed her best friend, but she doesn’t remember. Jennifer suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and the answer is hidden somewhere in her rapidly deteriorating mind. At one point Jennifer reveals, “I believe I could kill. There is that in me.” The author’s own mother suffers from Alzheimer’s. She infuses her experiences with the disease into Jennifer’s character. Readers are left with an intimate and revealing look into the mind of someone with dementia.

Alice LaPlante reads a passage from Turn of Mind, her novel about the disintegration of a strong woman's mind and the unhinging of her family. (Running Time: 13:03)

Alice LaPlante explains, "It's a murder mystery. It's told from the point of view of the main suspect who has Alzheimer's and the book goes from when she's not too badly off and ends up with her pretty deeply into the disease, so there's a deteriorating unreliable narrator."

Author Alice LaPlante's had first-hand experience from her mother's Alzheimer's. "That was the true delight of writing the book, to try to understand what she was going through. So I guess you could say that it was real experience with imagination layered on top of it."

"The voice was there from the beginning, the plot was there from the beginning although I didn't know who'd done it until 50 pages from the end, and then I said 'Oh that's interesting,' and I went back, and the clues were all there, it was quite an extraordinary experience."

Alice LaPlanteAlice LaPlante is an award-winning fiction writer and university creative writing instructor at both Stanford and San Francisco State University. Her novel, Turn of Mind was designated a New York Times Editors' Choice, an NPR, O Magazine, Vogue, and Globe and Mail Summer Reading Pick, and is featured in Barnes and Noble 2011 Discover Great New Writers program. Turn of Mind was also the first work of fiction to win the Welcome Prize.

Alice also has more than 25 years experience as an award-winning journalist. Raised in Chicago, she now lives with her family in Northern California.

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