A Brief Lunacy

Front Cover
Algonquin Books, Mar 18, 2005 - Fiction - 256 pages
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Jessie and Carl have made a terrible mistake. They should have been more careful. When Jonah came to their cabin in the Maine woods, asking to use the phone, they should never have let him in. But he told them his campsite had been robbed and he was stranded with no money and no gear. Jessie took pity on him. She was thinking about her own missing daughter, Sylvie, and hoping she was receiving the same kindness—wherever she was.

So, they invite him in, share their dinner with him, offer him a bed for the night. And they discover that this stranger at their table knows all about them. About Sylvie, their troubled daughter; about the secrets they haven't revealed to each other during forty years of marriage. By morning, they realize the young man has no intention of leaving.

Jessie and Carl are now captives in their own home.

The reader, too, is held captive by this novel that seems to unfold in real time. Over the next twenty-four hours, as Jonah's threats escalate, the couple struggle to outwit him and stay alive. Their attempts to escape force them to change roles, one discovering hidden strength, the other giving in to long-concealed weakness. Exposed, brutalized, and lost, each fights to hold on to sanity at a time when the edge of madness has never seemed so near.

Cynthia Thayer is a novelist who has taken her talent for drawing familiar characters—people we really know—to a new level. In this taut psychological thriller, she pushes them to their limits and shakes their secrets free.
 

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A BRIEF LUNACY

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Story of a startling, revelatory night of violence for a quiet retired couple who shelter a young psychotic camper.Thayer (A Certain Slant of Light, 2000) seems determined to flex her novelistic ... Read full review

A brief lunacy: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Carl and Jessie are retired professionals whose daily routine is shattered when they invite into their home a young man, Jonah, who may know their daughter. What begins as a helpful gesture to a ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

1 JESSIE
1
2 JESSIE
11
3 JESSIE
19
4 JESSIE
26
5 JESSIE
36
6 JESSIE
45
7 CARL
51
8 JESSIE
61
14 JESSIE
122
15 CARL
143
16 JESSIE
152
17 JESSIE
168
18 CARL
178
19 JESSIE
188
20 CARL
199
21 JESSIE
209

9 CARL
72
10 JESSIE
82
11 JESSIE
92
12 CARL
101
13 JESSIE
111
22 JESSIE
219
23 CARL
226
24 JESSIE
236
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About the author (2005)

CYNTHIA THAYER is the author of Strong for Potatoes (named best new fiction by Ingram Books and a Barnes & Noble Discover selection) and A Certain Slant of Light (published by Reader’s Digest in English, Portuguese, Danish, and Swedish), both Book Sense selections. Born in New York City and raised in Nova Scotia, Thayer now lives with her family in Gouldsboro, Maine. She has taught at the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and at the University of Maine at Machias.

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