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The Kiss

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  3,760 Ratings  ·  504 Reviews
In this extraordinary memoir, one of the best young writers in America today 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 began when Kathryn Harrison, twenty years old, was reunited with a parent whose absence had haunted her youth.
Exquisitely and hypnotically written, like
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1997)
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Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: This book was brought to my attention this morning-- Have others read it?
This is a book I'd re-read again today.
I always wondered why I never saw more great novels from this author. The way she wrote this book... I was hanging onto every word.

This is an older book - I still remember it clearly. ( I still own it). It's one of those books that you can't put down- yet when you are finished you're not sure what the hell you should tell others ...
Not the type of book I like to 'rate'..,'

Somewhere out there in the South a retired ex-minister, a great Don Juan who was told by God personally to fuck his own emotionally needy daughter and God knows who else (he was a children's missionary overseas, after all) must be basking in the proud afterglow of his memories. And then there's the daughter, Kathryn Harrison, the author of this memoir, who was just fucked up enough in the head from family dysfunction to go along with it -- and yet, being a 20- to- 24-year-old young woman when th ...more
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
*** NO RATING ***

Hmm. where do I begin ?

Believe it or not I AM a cautious reviewer. I do not wish to offend, dismiss nor ignore Mrs. Harrison or any authors feelings for that matter. We are all human beings and words can be universally hurtful. (*stepping down from my soap box*) With that being said, I am going to try and state my opinions the best way I can without channeling my inner asshole.

Here goes...

While I commend Mrs. Harrison's bravery in sharing such a difficult time in her life, her
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very disturbing book in its taboo subject matter (father/daughter incest), "The Kiss" is an incredibly honest and well-written memoir. As a therapist reading such a sad, dysfunctional narrative, I couldn't help but feel a sense of deju vu....the narrative of "The Kiss" paralleling those of similar stories I've heard within the office walls of client sessions over the years. Tragic that this (incest) happens more than society is aware. Power, control, and shame are a potent formula for instilli ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I have always been drawn to memoirs in which the subject matter is taboo, shockingly bazaar and unacceptable to even the most liberal minded of today's society. Anything that can stimulate my morbid curiosities, in a non-fiction format, fascinates me. So when I heard of The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison, after reading the review of another GRs member, the appeal was instant and I immediately went to my library, signed it out, and devoured it in (close to) one sitting. It had that additional element o ...more
Julie Ehlers
Kathryn Harrison was a pretty big deal in the 1990s. At the time, she’d written three literary novels. Of these three, one was about a sexual relationship between a father and his grown biological daughter. Another was about a woman whose father, a famous photographer, had taken inappropriate photos of his daughter as a child and then put them on display for everyone to see. With her fourth book, The Kiss, Kathryn Harrison finally wrote what she’d apparently been trying to write all along—a memo ...more
Aug 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terrie by: Bookmarks
Yawn. Admittedly, she didn't have the best childhood, but on the other hand she grew up in a stable household with her grandparents, enough money, education, etc. And I don't buy that her father "manipulated" her into a relationship. She was 20 years old, she could make her own choices at that point, especially when it involved voluntarily travelling long distances to meet him. Not that I was looking for details (yuck), but I also don't buy that she "doesn't remember" any of the times that she h ...more
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bold, fearless, extremely well written book... but, given the material... I cannot say I really liked the book. On writing merit alone, Harrison has five stars from me. Her writing structure, choice of words, & really, the lack of words, causes this to be the most in-your-face honest confession. I truly admire her for writing & publishing her story... & I don't say that lightly, like others do for almost any memoir... because with her children & husband, this was quite ...more
Leo Robertson
Kinda creepy to craft your own shame into MFA-style writing.

Like, "the kiss" is the first tongue kiss her dad gives her, which becomes a neat poetic catalyst and central event brought throughout the narrative. Rather than a thing that makes you go EWWWWWWWWW EWWWWWW EWWWW, right? I found an example quote:

''In years to come, I'll think of the kiss as a kind of transforming sting, like that of a scorpion: a narcotic that spreads from my mouth to my brain. The kiss is the point at which I begin, sl
Jan 23, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book is disturbing. Well, the subject matter is disturbing (an affair she has with her father).

I feel great respect for the bravery that went into writing it. Something bugs me which is that after all of that, she didn't go into the healing part of the trauma. Well, maybe that was the point. It was all so starkly written, which definitely gave you the impression of being there. You get it. The feeling of being stuck, of her body and mind freezing over--it's very visceral. I just also wante
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Kathryn Harrison is the author of the novels Envy, The Seal Wife, The Binding Chair, Poison, Exposure, and Thicker Than Water.

She has also written memoirs, The Kiss and The Mother Knot, a travel memoir, The Road To Santiago, a biography, Saint Therese Of Lisieux, and a collection of personal essays, Seeking Rapture.

Ms. Harrison is a frequent reviewer for The New York Times Book Review; her essay
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“We're taught to expect unconditional love from our parents, but I think it is more the gift our children give us. It's they who love us helplessly, no matter what or who we are.” 27 likes
“My days are as long as despair can make them.” 14 likes
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