Tinderbox: A Novel

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When you invite a stranger into your home, you never know who's really coming in . . .

Myra is a Manhattan psychotherapist. A quick study and an excellent judge of character, she thinks she knows what she's getting when she hires a nanny—it's her job, after all, to analyze people. Her phobia-addled son has just moved back in with his wife and child, and the new nanny, Eva, seems like a perfect addition: she cleans like a demon and irons like a dream, and she forms an immediate bond with Myra's grandson.
But as Eva, a Peruvian immigrant, reveals more of herself, what seemed a felicitous arrangement turns ominous. She racks the household with screams from a night terror. She spits in her hands to ward off evil spirits. Then, one afternoon, she settles into Myra's patient chair and begins to expose the secrets of her past. Their relationship slowly and inexorably becomes too close, too dependent, and, ultimately, terrifyingly destructive. As events spiral out of Myra's control, she learns that even a family as close-knit as her own can have plenty to hide.
In the rich tradition of Lionel Shriver, Jane Hamilton, and Anne Tyler, the psychoanalyst and novelist Lisa Gornick tells us a story about the tragedy of good intentions. Tinderbox spins a suspenseful mystery of hidden traumas. It's a searingly perceptive, deeply honest novel about families and secrets, and power, and love.
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About the author

Lisa Gornick is the author of A Private Sorcery, a novel. Her stories have appeared in Agni, Confrontation, The Massachusetts Review, Slice, and other journals; have received awards, including Best American Short Stories Distinguished Story of the year; and have been named a finalist in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open and a winner of the Summer Literary Seminars Unified Literary Contest. Her essays have been published in The Huffington Post, The Sun, and various psychoanalytic journals. She has a BS from Princeton, and a PhD in clinical psychology from Yale, and is a graduate of the writing program at New York University and the psychoanalytic training program at Columbia, where she is currently on the faculty.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Sarah Crichton Books
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Published on
Sep 10, 2013
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9780374710255
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A psychiatrist falls into a dangerous double life and his family must step up to save him in this “first-rate novel” by the author of Tinderbox (Colum McCann).
 
Saul Dubinsky has been arrested for trying to steal drugs from a hospital pharmacy. No one is sure how this shy, sensitive, and dedicated doctor fell from grace. There was a patient who had attempted suicide—but the roots of this downward spiral may go back far further, and now his loved ones are trying to figure out what went wrong.
 
Saul’s emotionally remote wife, Rena, must confront the failures of their marriage—and in the process, face her shame over her own past. Saul’s father, who long ago gave up his own psychiatric practice, blames himself for his son’s breakdown, and finds himself tormented by memories of a troubled patient—and his complicity in his family’s long-simmering problems.
 
As Rena and Leonard each grapple with the impact of Saul’s arrest, they are drawn closer together—and a delicate transformation begins to occur in each of them—in a profound novel in which “none of the characters is flawless, even those we most love; they can be self-absorbed, lustful, weak, or afraid of intimacy, both spiritual and physical. Yet they are human in all their complexity, and they are beautifully rendered” (Library Journal).
 
“Gornick’s beautifully constructed novel is an expert balance of humor and pathos that will leave readers anxious for her next work.” —Booklist
 
“A wonderfully honest book, deeply felt, with characters carved from the true stuff of what we are. A first-rate novel, all the more surprising since it is Gornick’s debut.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
 
A psychiatrist falls into a dangerous double life and his family must step up to save him in this “first-rate novel” by the author of Tinderbox (Colum McCann).
 
Saul Dubinsky has been arrested for trying to steal drugs from a hospital pharmacy. No one is sure how this shy, sensitive, and dedicated doctor fell from grace. There was a patient who had attempted suicide—but the roots of this downward spiral may go back far further, and now his loved ones are trying to figure out what went wrong.
 
Saul’s emotionally remote wife, Rena, must confront the failures of their marriage—and in the process, face her shame over her own past. Saul’s father, who long ago gave up his own psychiatric practice, blames himself for his son’s breakdown, and finds himself tormented by memories of a troubled patient—and his complicity in his family’s long-simmering problems.
 
As Rena and Leonard each grapple with the impact of Saul’s arrest, they are drawn closer together—and a delicate transformation begins to occur in each of them—in a profound novel in which “none of the characters is flawless, even those we most love; they can be self-absorbed, lustful, weak, or afraid of intimacy, both spiritual and physical. Yet they are human in all their complexity, and they are beautifully rendered” (Library Journal).
 
“Gornick’s beautifully constructed novel is an expert balance of humor and pathos that will leave readers anxious for her next work.” —Booklist
 
“A wonderfully honest book, deeply felt, with characters carved from the true stuff of what we are. A first-rate novel, all the more surprising since it is Gornick’s debut.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
 
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