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Charlie Weir’s family is comprehensively dysfunctional—abandoned by his father, his mother ravaged by that betrayal, and his brother, Walt, a successful artist, less Charlie’s ally than his rival. So it’s hardly surprising that he should find a vocation in psychiatry in New York City, counseling traumatized war veterans returning home from Vietnam. Agnes Magill, the sister of one damaged soldier, soon becomes Charlie’s wife. But the suicide of her brother, Danny, ends the marriage, leaving Charlie to endure a corrosive loneliness even as Manhattan grows steadily more dirty and dangerous around him.
Then, in the haunting aftermath of Charlie’s mother’s death, Agnes returns to offer him the solace that he has never been able to provide for her. Almost simultaneously, he is presented with a quite different anodyne—a volatile woman whose irresistible beauty, tinged though it is with an air of grievous suffering, jeopardizes everything he has hoped might restore his dwindling…[more]
From our most celebrated writer of the psychological thriller comes this nerve-wracking yet eerily beautiful work of erotic obsession and madness. In the summer of 1959 Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting—a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Beautiful and headstrong, Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a brilliant and magnetic sculptor who has been confined to the hospital for murdering his wife in a psychotic rage. But Stella’s knowledge of Edgar’s crime is no hindrance to the volcanic attraction that ensues—a passion that will consume Stella’s sanity and destroy her and the lives of those around her.