Stephanie's Reviews > The Kiss

The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison
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Nov 29, 2008

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Read in October, 2008

A 20-year old girl (the author) gets seduced and manipulated by her absent father, from whom she had been estranged since birth. As she depicts it, she is drawn in in part because she needs a father so badly, and in part because she hates her mother, who longs for the father's attention despite having sent him away at the behest of her parents. It's an interesting take on triangles, voids, rage, taboos, need, narcissism, and abusive dynamics. An attempt to make a narrative from the unspeakable (pre-lingual) complexity and horror of trauma, its tone and narrative structure (jumping around time, etc.) are strange, intense, distancing, creepy, slightly dizzying, and sometimes flat, which is probably a pretty good approximation of some the emotions the author was feeling during the affair. It's hard to criticize this book because of the content, but it's not amazing. It's interesting, and I'm glad I read it (it was assigned for a class) but it's not the best writing in the world. Though I guess that's not the point.
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