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P. 1
The Doctor's Daughter: A novel by the bestselling author of Hearts

The Doctor's Daughter: A novel by the bestselling author of Hearts

Ratings:

3.2

(42)
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In her first work of fiction in more than a decade, award-winning novelist Hilma Wolitzer brilliantly renders the intimate details of ordinary life and exposes a host of hidden truths. The Doctor’s Daughter is a haunting portrait of a woman coming to terms with her family history and the fallibility of memory.One morning, Alice Brill awakes with a sudden awareness that something is wrong. There’s a hollowness in her chest, and a sensation of dread that she can’t identify or shake. Was it something she’s done, or forgotten to do? As she scours her mind for the source of her unease, she confronts an array of disturbing possibilities.First, there is her marriage, a once vibrant relationship that now languishes stasis. Then there’s her idle, misdirected younger son, who always needs bailing out of some difficulty. Or perhaps Alice’s trepidation is caused by the loss of her career as an editor at a large publishing house, and the new path she’s paved for herself as a freelance book doctor. Or it might be the real doctor in her life: her father. Formerly one of New York’s top surgeons, he now rests in a nursing home, his mind gripped by dementia. And the Eden that was Alice’s childhood–the material benefits and reflected glory of being a successful doctor’s daughter, the romance of her parents’ famously perfect marriage–makes her own domestic life seem fatally flawed. While struggling to find the root of her restlessness, Alice is buoyed by her discovery of a talented new writer, a man who works by day as a machinist in Michigan. Soon their interactions and feelings intensify, and Alice realizes that the mystery she’s been trying to solve lies not in the present, as she had assumed, but in the past–and in the secrets of a marriage that was never as perfect as it appeared.Like the best works of Anne Tyler, Sue Miller, and Gail Godwin, The Doctor’s Daughter is private yet universal, luminous and revelatory–and marks the reemergence of a singular talent in American writing.From the Hardcover edition.
In her first work of fiction in more than a decade, award-winning novelist Hilma Wolitzer brilliantly renders the intimate details of ordinary life and exposes a host of hidden truths. The Doctor’s Daughter is a haunting portrait of a woman coming to terms with her family history and the fallibility of memory.One morning, Alice Brill awakes with a sudden awareness that something is wrong. There’s a hollowness in her chest, and a sensation of dread that she can’t identify or shake. Was it something she’s done, or forgotten to do? As she scours her mind for the source of her unease, she confronts an array of disturbing possibilities.First, there is her marriage, a once vibrant relationship that now languishes stasis. Then there’s her idle, misdirected younger son, who always needs bailing out of some difficulty. Or perhaps Alice’s trepidation is caused by the loss of her career as an editor at a large publishing house, and the new path she’s paved for herself as a freelance book doctor. Or it might be the real doctor in her life: her father. Formerly one of New York’s top surgeons, he now rests in a nursing home, his mind gripped by dementia. And the Eden that was Alice’s childhood–the material benefits and reflected glory of being a successful doctor’s daughter, the romance of her parents’ famously perfect marriage–makes her own domestic life seem fatally flawed. While struggling to find the root of her restlessness, Alice is buoyed by her discovery of a talented new writer, a man who works by day as a machinist in Michigan. Soon their interactions and feelings intensify, and Alice realizes that the mystery she’s been trying to solve lies not in the present, as she had assumed, but in the past–and in the secrets of a marriage that was never as perfect as it appeared.Like the best works of Anne Tyler, Sue Miller, and Gail Godwin, The Doctor’s Daughter is private yet universal, luminous and revelatory–and marks the reemergence of a singular talent in American writing.From the Hardcover edition.

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Publish date: Dec 18, 2007
Added to Scribd: Apr 09, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9780307417008
List Price: $11.99 Buy Now

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gwendolyndawson reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A writer/editor comes to terms with her family history and the fallibility of memory. One morning Alice Brill awakes with a sudden awareness that something is wrong. In her voyage to discover the cause of her feeling, she questions her writing/career, her marriage, her family, her friendships, and eventually accepts that life is never as perfect as it appears. Very well-written. I enjoyed the interplay between memory and reality.
bookwormteri reviewed this
Rated 1/5
I don't think that I like this book, but I could not put it down. I felt that it was VERY anticlimactic.Alice Brill is a restless woman that can't quite figure out why she feels that something is very wrong. Her job is fine, her marriage is ok, and her children are grown up. But she can't put away this feeling. She feels like the secret lies in her past, but her parents are able to talk to her about it because her mother is dead and her dad has dementia.
alirambles reviewed this
Rated 4/5
What I loved about this book is the way all the main character's relationships are complicated. She adores her best friend but there's a rivalry there that prevents complete honesty. She becomes increasingly estranged from her husband but still loves him. She has an affair with a man she has very mixed feelings about, and so on. This book made me want to read every other book Hilma Wolitzer wrote. Unfortunately for me, I think I started with her best.
msbaba reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The Doctor's Daughter by Hilma Wolitzer is an intelligently written mystery of self-discovery. Ultimately, it is about a woman coming to terms with the person she has become. In the beginning of the story, the protagonist, Alice Brill, has a strange, malignant feeling in her chest. The book takes us on a quest to find out what ails her. Is it breast cancer? Is it a failing in her marriage—a failing in her career? Why did her mother's literary career suddenly stop when she was a child? What seems to be dying inside her: Is it her body or her soul?Both Alice and her husband are highly educated literary scholars who married with a lovely dream of supporting each other's successful literary career. But after more than two decades of marriage, Alice only sees herself as "a failed Scheherazade who couldn't keep anybody alive with her stories." Instead of creating literature, she earns her living as an editor, a book doctor. She buries her dream of creating her own works of fiction, instead she doctors others' works. Her husband also must bury his literary ambitions after the financial realities of their first child's birth make him take a position in his family's printing business. The novel takes us on a journey of recollections through Alice's life. Along the way, we get to know her mother, the successful published poet who suddenly stops publishing. Why? We get to know her father, the brilliant, autocratic, narcissistic surgeon. All her life, Alice has a lived in the cocoon fiction of her parent's marital bliss. But is that true? She sees possibilities that all may not have been right with their marriage. Her father is now in a nursing home in the later stage of Alzheimer's, so he is little help in leading her toward the answers to her questions. There seems to be something important that happened back when she was a child that is somehow at the root of the blindingly white, bad feelings that keep reccurring. Along the path toward Alice's destiny with self-discovery, are subplots of therapy, lust, friendship, and marital infidelity.The Doctor's Daughter is good, intelligent, psychological fiction. I look forward to reading more by Hilma Wolitzer. In my estimation, this author can rest assured that she is not, like her protagonist, "a failed Scheherazade."
bobbieharv reviewed this
Rated 5/5
A lovely novel, about a woman "book doctor," her affair with one of her younger clients, her marriage breakup and reconciliation, and her discovery about her father's affair with his nurse. Wonderful writing.
binniebee reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Well, here we go again. What is it with all these 40-something wives that makes them so unhappy with their nearly perfect husbands? Other than that, the book was well-written and an interesting read.
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The Doctor's Daughter: A novel by the bestselling author of Hearts