A Mind of Winter

2012. c.332p. ISBN 9781617751035. pap. $15.95. F
OrangeReviewStarNayman often approaches literary fiction through the lens of clinical psychology, in which she was trained; two previous works, Awake in the Dark and The Listener, plumbed the depths of the human psyche to expose the chaotic and conflicting thoughts that motivate our actions and beliefs. Here, the period directly after World War II provides the setting for a story rife with forbidden impulses, regret, and deceit. Unfolding in three individual narratives, the novel explores a secret shared among the mysterious Oscar, who owns a mansion on Long Island; his house guest Marilyn; and his lost love Christine, who vanished into the depths of Shanghai after the war. In this classic page-turner, the connections among the three characters emerge from the very nature of the form itself, with its delineated boundaries of narration and memory. On the surface, motivation and action appear transparent, but the characters slowly reveal a psychological and physical imprisonment to the past.
VERDICT A gripping psychological thriller that will appeal to readers of historical fiction; Nayman's writing is as assured as ever.

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