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A Brief Lunacy

Thayer, Cynthia

193 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1565124448 / ISBN 13: 9781565124448
Published by Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., 2005
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First edition, stated; first printing, full number line. Inscribed and signed by the author on the title page: "For Eileen, / With best wishes / Cynthia Thayer." Book is tight, square, and unmarked; corners sharp, spine ends unbumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $22.95). Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 004323

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Brief Lunacy

Publisher: Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


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.

Book Description:

Cynthia Thayer writes about people we know. Or thinkwe know. They have secrets, closely held—out of shame or perhaps because of memories too painful to mention. In A Brief Lunacy, deep secrets are shaken loose as her characters are thrust into a situation both terrifying and, ultimately, revelatory.

Jessie and Carl are a retired couple enjoying a quiet life in rural Maine, until a phone call one October afternoon informs them that their daughter has disappeared from the institution in which she resides. Then, as twilight falls, a stranded young man comes to their door seeking shelter, and thinking of their missing daughter who might also be in need, they invite him into their home. Slowly they realize he knows more about their family than they could dare to imagine, and as the threat of violence looms, they discover that the stranger has no intention of leaving.

Here is a desperate threesome, embroiled in a trinity of madness, yet each struggling alone, searching for answers, for escape, and for sanity. Thayer’s insights into the human psyche make a gripping novel that raises questions about how well we know our loved ones; how we play out the roles expected of us; how far we will go to protect our children; and what it takes to cross the threshold into madness.

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