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  • The Kiss
  • Written by Kathryn Harrison
    Afterword by Jane Smiley
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780812979718
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The Kiss

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A Memoir

Written by Kathryn HarrisonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kathryn Harrison
Afterword by Jane SmileyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jane Smiley

eBook

List Price: $11.99

eBook

On Sale: May 04, 2011
Pages: 256 | ISBN: 978-0-307-76737-0
Published by : Random House Trade Paperbacks Random House Group
The Kiss Cover

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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

In this acclaimed and groundbreaking memoir, Kathryn Harrison transforms into a work of art the darkest passage imaginable in a young woman’s life: an obsessive love affair between father and daughter that begins when she, at age twenty, is reunited with the father whose absence had haunted her youth. Exquisitely and hypnotically written, like a bold and terrifying dream, The Kiss is breathtaking in its honesty and in the power and beauty of its creation. A story both of transgression and of family complicity in breaking taboo, The Kiss is also about love—about the most primal of love triangles, the one that ensnares a child between mother and father.

Excerpt

We meet at airports. We meet in cities where we've never been before. We meet where no one will recognize us.

One of us flies, the other brings a car, and in it we set out for some destination. Increasingly, the places we go are unreal places: the Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon -- places as stark and beautiful and deadly as those revealed in satellite photographs of distant planets. Airless, burning, inhuman.

Against such backdrops, my father takes my face in his hands. He tips it up and kisses my closed eyes, my throat. I feel his fingers in the hair at the nape of my neck. I feel his hot breath on my eyelids.

We quarrel sometimes, and sometimes we weep. The road always stretches endlessly ahead and behind us, so that we are out of time as well as out of place. We go to Muir Woods in northern California, so shrouded in blue fog that the road is lost; and we drive down the Natchez Trace into deep, green Mississippi summer. The trees bear blossoms big as my head; their ivory petals drift to the ground and cover our tracks.

Separated from family and from the flow of time, from work and from school; standing against a sheer face of red rock one thousand feet high; kneeling in a cave dwelling two thousand years old; watching as a million bats stream from the mouth of Carlsbad Caverns into the purple dusk -- these nowheres and no-times are the only home we have.


From the Hardcover edition.
Kathryn Harrison|Jane Smiley

About Kathryn Harrison

Kathryn Harrison - The Kiss

Photo © Joyce Ravid

 
Kathryn Harrison is the author of the memoirs The Kiss and The Mother Knot. She has also written the novels Envy, The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water; a travel memoir, The Road to Santiago; a biography, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux; and a collection of essays, Seeking Rapture. She lives in New York with her husband, the novelist Colin Harrison, and their children.
 

About Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley - The Kiss

Photo © Michael Lionstar

Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as four works of nonfiction. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature in 2006. She lives in Northern California.


Jane Smiley is represented by Random House Speakers Bureau (www.rhspeakers.com)
Praise

Praise

“I couldn’t stop reading this. I’ll never stop remembering it.”—Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club

“Only a writer of extraordinary gifts could bring so much light to bear on so dark a matter, redeeming it with the steadiness of her gaze and the uncanny, heartbreaking exactitude of her language.”—Tobias Wolff, author of This Boy’s Life

“Beautifully written . . . jumping back and forth in time yet drawing you irresistibly toward the heart of a great evil.”—The New York Times

“Like all good literature, The Kiss illuminates something that we knew already, while also teaching us things we had not even suspected.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“A darkly beautiful book, fearless and frightening, ironic and compassionate.”—Mary Gordon, author of Circling My Mother
 

“Harrison’s story is her own, but it is also a brilliant fiction, densely mythic, sometimes almost liturgical sounding and raw. She is both author and protagonist of a dark pilgrim’s progress.”—The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

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