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Strange Piece of Paradise

Terri Jentz

Picador

0312426690

9780312426699

Trade Paperback

752 Pages

$22.00

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National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
Edgar Award for True Crime Finalist
A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Favorite Nonfiction Book of 2006
A Kansas City Star Noteworthy of the Year
A Seattle Post-Intelligencer Best Book of the Year
An Oregonian Top 10 Northwest Book of the Year In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate took a cross-country bike trip. As they lay sleeping in the central Oregon desert, a man in a pickup truck deliberately ran over their tent and proceeded to attack them with an axe. The horrific crime was reported in newspapers across the country, but no one was ever arrested. Fifteen years later, Jentz returns to the small town where she was nearly murdered and makes an extraordinary discovery: the violence of that night is as present for the community as it is for her. Shockingly, many say they know who did it, and he is living freely in their midst.
 
Powerful, eloquent, and paced like the most riveting of thrillers, Strange Piece of Paradise is a startling profile of a psychopath, a sweeping reflection on violence and the myth of American individualism, and a moving record of Jentz's brave inner journey from violence to hope.

REVIEWS

Praise for Strange Piece of Paradise

"Imagine that it had been Truman Capote himself who'd been savaged in Holcomb, Kansas, and that he had survived to describe his ordeal. That is the level of command and sinew at work in [Terri Jentz's] writing."—The New York Times Book Review
 
"Strange Piece of Paradise is a breathtaking memoir that deserves enshrinement on the essential books about the American West, worthy of a place beside Norman Mailer's classic account, The Executioner's Song."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
"Jentz excels in capturing the aftermath of the attack . . . [She] is a savvy, big-hearted narrator who refuses to rush to judgment . . . A singular, breathtaking document of devastation, survival, and hard-won hope."—Newsday
 
"In her spellbinding, heartbreaking tale of one random act of carnage, Jentz shows how evil sometimes doesn't have a face but leaves scars both physical and emotional."—USA Today
 
“Jentz’s book is the best sort of memoir: a gripping true-crime story told in the first person by an author with both writing chops and unflinching honesty.  She doesn’t let anyone off the hook, including herself, and she has the scars to prove it.”—Kel Munger, Sacramento News and Review
"Nearly 20 years after being brutally assaulted, Jentz returns to the scene of the crime demanding answers in a crusade that continues for several years. She uncovers the dark secrets of the smalltown Oregon community that kept her alleged attacker from being brought to justice. Angered by the imperfections of the criminal justice system, her efforts have generated this book to make [readers] aware of how fragile the system can be."—Publishers Weekly
 
"The pacing and subject matter will keep readers mesmerized throughout . . . An extraordinary story from a gifted writer."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Strange Piece of Paradise
Part OneIt has sometimes taken me ten years to understand even a little of some important event that happened to me. Oh, I could have given a perfectly factual account of what happened but I didn't know what it meant until I knew the consequences.--KATHERINE ANNE PORTERA Dangerous Summer's NightPoised on that twilight edge between life and death, I felt intimately the part of me that was flesh, and I knew also that I was something more.I came to that insight early on. I was scarcely twenty. 
IT WAS 1977, a drought year in the American West, the driest year in
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  • Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate

    Terri Jentz tells of her search for justice after being brutally attacked while camping.

  • Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Terri Jentz's memoir Strange Piece of Paradise. In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate took a cross-country bike trip. As they lay sleeping in the central Oregon desert, a man in a pickup truck deliberately ran over their tent and proceeded to attack them with an axe. The horrific crime was reported in newspapers across the country, but no one was ever arrested.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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