THE KISS by Kathryn Harrison


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 A mesmerizing true tale of a love affair between father and daughter, that in this talented novelist's hands takes on the mythic proportions of a Greek tragedy. Author Harrison (Poison, 1995, etc.) has written thinly disguised versions of these episodes in her novels (Thicker than Water, 1991), but the reality is both more gripping and more heartbreaking than fiction. Now married (her husband knew about the incest) and a mother, Harrison made the decision to lay the story out publicly before her children were old enough to be bent by the buzz that would inevitably follow such a revelation. Harrison's father and mother met, fell in love, got married, and had their daughter by the time they were 19. The father, a minister, left when she was only six months old, and Harrison saw little of him until she was in college. She lived with her mother and grandparents until she was six years old. Then her mother moved out, leaving no address or phone number, desperate apparently to be on her own. Mother visited Harrison frequently, but even in her daughter's presence, her attention was elsewhere, ``romantically fixated . . . on my father.'' The father remarried, had children by his second wife, had a church. It was when he came to visit his now college-age daughter that he began his seduction. Courting her by letter, phone, and tape recordings, meeting in airports and motels, in cars and even in his ministerial office, he was finally successful in making his daughter his sexual partner. Only after her mother died was Harrison able to end the relationship, realizing that it had been about her mother all along. No explicit scenes here, except for the kiss of the title, but powerful writing, not about desire or passion, but about abandonment and rage. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-679-44999-X
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1997


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NonfictionTRUE CRIMES by Kathryn Harrison
by Kathryn Harrison
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NonfictionWHILE THEY SLEPT by Kathryn Harrison
by Kathryn Harrison


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