By Blood

By Blood

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A "New York Times" Notable Book of the YearSan Francisco, the 1970s. A disgraced professor takes an office in an old downtown building to plot his return. But he is distracted by the sounds coming from the next room, the office of a psychiatrist. He overhears the therapy sessions of a young lesbian who is in search of her adoptive family. Enraptured by the sound of her voice and obsessed with her story, the professor takes up the patient's quest as his own and discovers the disturbing truth about her origins. As he sends each new revelation to the patient---disguised as correspondence from an adoption agency---she is energized by the information, but finds herself unmoored from everything she thought she knew about herself. With ferocious intelligence and enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman's "By Blood" is a dark and brilliant novel about connection, identity, history, and the terrible desire to influence another life.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 140 x 220 x 28mm | 385.55g
  • St Martin's Press
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1250023963
  • 9781250023964
  • 337,649

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"Smart, slippery . . . Ullman arranges her players efficiently. But what astounds is how she binds them to one another . . . It's a narrative striptease. And Ullman has such fun with it." --Parul Sehgal, "The New York Times Book Review"" ""A thrilling page-turner of a book . . . Book clubs of America, take note. "By Blood" is what you should be reading. Ullman is someone we all should be reading." --Ed Siegel, "Newsday"" ""What is most distinctive about Ullman's voice . . . is the way it sounds fully formed, mature both intellectually and emotionally." --Jenny Davidson, "Slate ""Like analysis, ["By Blood"] has urgency--as if, by talking and talking, a solution will be found. Like history, it extends in all directions . . . Like the best novels, it's irresistible--twisty-turny, insightful, revelatory--funny when it's tragic, and complicated when it's funny." --Minna Proctor, "A literary inquiry into identity and legacy . . . A gripping mystery . . . The storytelling is compelling and propulsive . . . Ullman is also a careful stylist." --Carolyn Kellogg, "The Los Angeles Times"" ""Rewarding . . . Deepy, lengthy and rewarding therapy is as close as most people get to reading their lives as a novel. Here is a novel that offers itself as a deepy, lengthy and rewarding version of a therapy. The memory of reading it remains quite intense." --Alan Cheuse, "The San Francisco Chronicle ""Marvelously creepy . . . A tricky thing to pull off but Ullman does it beautifully . . . ["By Blood"] speaks volumes about the way we think about the Jewish past." --Adam Kirsch, "Tablet ""A dark, brooding, and marvelous novel that doesn't really resemble anything else, though disparate elements of it remind me of so many stories I love. The book combines a disturbing confessional intensity, as in Coetzee's "Disgrace," Lasdun's "Horned Man," and Tartt's "The Secret History," with a paranoid claustrophobia akin to that of "The Conversation,"

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About Ellen Ullman

Ellen Ullman is the author of a novel, "The Bug," a "New York Times "Notable Book and runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the cult classic memoir "Close to the Machine," based on her years as a rare female computer programmer in the early years of the personal computer era. She lives in San Francisco.

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