The Kiss: A Memoir by Kathryn HarrisonThe Kiss: A Memoir by Kathryn Harrison

The Kiss: A Memoir

byKathryn HarrisonAfterword byJane Smiley

Paperback | April 12, 2011

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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.
Kathryn Harrison's novels include Thicker than Water and Exposure, both New York Times Notable Books, and Poison, called "powerful and hypnotic" by The New York Times and "a masterpiece" by Lucy Grealy.  Harrison lives in New York.From the Hardcover edition.
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Title:The Kiss: A MemoirFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.5 inPublished:April 12, 2011Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812979710

ISBN - 13:9780812979718

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Appalling but well-written This is without a doubt one of the most disturbing books I have read. It was so difficult to put down, because how appalling it was, and how you just needed to get to the end. It was very well written, very concise. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-27

Read from the Book

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.

Editorial Reviews

“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