The Doctor’s Daughter
A novel by the bestselling author of Hearts
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.
READ AN EXCERPT
1. The New York Times Book Review called The Doctor’s Daughter a coming-of-age novel, while People, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Library Journal referred to Alice Brill’s midlife crisis. Did Alice come of age at ﬁfty-one, or did she suffer from a midlife crisis? Can these...
“The Doctor’s Daughter marks Hilma Wolitzer’s much-anticipated return to the world of fiction. It is a beautiful tale of coming apart and reconciliation.”
–A. M. Homes
“An exquisitely nuanced novel that brilliantly examines one of the abiding truths of the human condition: the quest for self never ceases. Hilma Wolitzer’s new novel is just cause for celebration, as it shows her at the peak of her prodigious powers.”
–Robert Olen Butler
“Hilma Wolitzer’s characters are as real as the people next door. And, oh, the eye and ear at work here! The Doctor’s Daughter is a book I both admired and devoured.”
“To read Hilma Wolitzer is to laugh in a special way and to allow yourself little intermissions of sheer satisfaction in which you lay the open book facedown on your heart and snuggle with the human race. The Doctor’s Daughter is her masterpiece.”
“This intensely readable book unfolds so gracefully that we are hardly aware of the many layers of the journey on which it takes us.”
“Hilma Wolitzer’s The Doctor’s Daughter reminds us what novels can do. She takes a simple, touching, human situation and enlarges it into a heartbreaking and permanent story of loss and renewal.”
“This is a lovely novel–wonderfully well written, intelligent, perceptive, and rich.”
From the Hardcover edition.