"In this memoir Terri Jentz grapples with the deep subconscious of America, as well as its flesh and blood. Her writing has the weirdness and gravitas and beauty of life." --Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir
"An extraordinary story about the scars of the spirit and how they heal, Jentz's epic American journey is both heart-rending and heartening, devastating and redemptive." --Melanie Thernstrom, author of Halfway Heaven
"Strange Piece of Paradise is a haunting, lyrical journey through one woman's nightmare. Terri Jentz's debut is harrowing, gripping and poignant. The impact lingers long after the final page is turned." --Harlan Coben, author of No Second Chance
"Strange Piece of Paradise is a haunting masterpiece. A journey into the heart of American violence, it is both a vividly brutal story and a redemptive tale of self reclamation and justice--asking why is America such a violent place, who are the perpetrators, and what is the nature of the suffering they inflict, not only on their victims but on whole communities. As the author describes her own emotional progression with dazzlingly discerning and subtle precision, the story holds us in its grip until we realize we have witnessed a stunning reversal: the victim hunts down the suspected perpetrator.
No one will be the same after reading this brilliant book. It is transformative in the best way, soul changing, with the promise of altering a culture that far too often aims toward and glorifies destruction." --Susan Griffin, author of A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War (Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist)
"Start this book, and you won't stop. Memoir, detective story, travelogue, time capsule, horror movie come to life (and swinging a hatchet), obsessive manhunt, a tale of American innocence dashed and left for dead--Terri Jentz's Strange Piece of Paradise has the narcotic force of a nightmare that won't let go its grip until the truth is found and set free. In synopsis, Strange Piece of Paradise sounds like pulp fiction: 1977, two Yale students--hopeful and buoyant--embark upon a bike trip across the country's "most scenic blue roads" only to be brutally attacked at a campsite by a psycho stranger in cowboy boots who drives off into the desert night. But the story is true, the locations real, the scars left on the author's body bearing the track marks of her trauma. As if to perform reconstructive surgery on her psyche (to reconcile the adventurous young woman she was with the "scarecrow self" that has haunted her since), Jentz returns to the scene of the crime to conduct an epic investigation as shadowed in grief and as stricken by violence as Truman Capote's Kansas in In Cold Blood." --James Wolcott, Vanity Fair columnist and author of The Catsitters