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While They Slept

An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family

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eBook published by Random House (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Early on an April morning, eighteen-year-old Billy Frank Gilley, Jr., killed his sleeping parents. Surprised in the act by his younger sister, Becky, he turned on her as well. Billy then climbed the stairs to the bedroom of his other sister, Jody, and said, “We’re free.” But is one ever free after an unredeemable act of violence? In this mesmerizing book–based on interviews with Billy and Jody as well as with friends, police, and social workers involved in the case–bestselling writer Kathryn Harrison brilliantly uncovers the true story behind this shocking crime and examines the extent as well as the limits of psychic resilience in the aftermath of tragedy.
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Early on an April morning, eighteen-year-old Billy Frank Gilley, Jr., killed his sleeping parents. Surprised in the act by his younger sister, Becky, he turned on her as well. Billy then climbed the stairs to the bedroom of his other sister, Jody, and said, “We’re free.” But is one ever free after an unredeemable act of violence? In this mesmerizing book–based on interviews with Billy and Jody as well as with friends, police, and social workers involved in the case–bestselling writer Kathryn Harrison brilliantly uncovers the true story behind this shocking crime and examines the extent as well as the limits of psychic resilience in the aftermath of tragedy.
Product Details
eBook
Published: June 10, 2008
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House
ISBN: 9781588367150
Other books byKathryn Harrison
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover

    Lady Chatterley's Lover
    Introduction by Kathryn Harrison   Inspired by the long-standing affair between D. H. Lawrence’s German wife and an Italian peasant, Lady Chatterley’s Lover follows the intense passions of Constance Chatterley. Trapped in an unhappy marriage to an aristocratic mine owner whose war wounds have left him paralyzed and impotent, Constance enters into a liaison with the gamekeeper Mellors. Frank Kermode called the book D. H. Lawrence’s “great achievement,” Anaïs Nin described it as “his best novel,” and Archibald MacLeish hailed it as “one of the most important works of fiction of the century.” Along with an incisive Introduction by Kathryn Harrison, this Modern Library edition includes the transcript of the judge’s decision in the famous 1959 obscenity trial that allowed Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be published in the United States.

    The Seal Wife

    The Seal Wife
    A Novel
    Stunning, hypnotic, spare, The Seal Wife is the masterly new novel by Kathryn Harrison, “a writer of extraordinary gifts” (Tobias Wolff). Set in Alaska in 1915, it tells the story of a young scientist’s consuming love for a woman known as the Aleut, a woman who never speaks, who refuses to reveal so much as her name. Born and educated in midwestern cities, Bigelow is sent north by the United States government to establish a weather observatory in Anchorage. But what could have prepared him for the loneliness of a railroad town with more than two thousand men and only a handful of women, or for winter nights twenty hours long? And what can protect him from obsession—obsession with a woman who seems in her silence and mystery to possess the power to destroy his life forever, and obsession with the weather kite he invents, a kite he hopes will fly higher than any has ever flown before and will penetrate the secrets of the heavens? A novel of passions both dangerous and generative, The Seal Wife explores the nature of desire and its ability to propel an individual beyond himself and convention. As she brilliantly reimagines the terrain of the Alaskan frontier during the period of the First World War, Harrison, a “master of her material” (Mary Gordon), also evokes early efforts to chart the weather and reveals the interior realm of the psyche and emotions—a human landscape that, in its splendor and terror, is profoundly and eerily reminiscent of the frozen frontier and the storms that scour its face. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Kiss

    The Kiss
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    In this acclaimed and groundbreaking memoir, Kathryn Harrison 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 begins when she, at age twenty, is reunited with the father whose absence had haunted her youth. Exquisitely and hypnotically written, like a bold and terrifying dream, The Kiss is breathtaking in its honesty and in the power and beauty of its creation. A story both of transgression and of family complicity in breaking taboo, The Kiss is also about love—about the most primal of love triangles, the one that ensnares a child between mother and father.

    Enchantments

    Enchantments
    A novel of Rasputin's daughter and the Romanovs
    A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK “Part love story, part history, this novel is a tour de force [told] in language that soars and sears.”—More   St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to her son, the headstrong prince Alyosha, who suffers from hemophilia. Soon after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and the Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha find solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, and to distract the prince from the pain she cannot heal, Masha tells him stories—some embellished and others entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s exploits, and their wild and wonderful country, now on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.   Praise for Enchantments “A sumptuous, atmospheric account of the last days of the Romanovs from the perspective of Rasputin’s daughter, [told] with the sensuous, transporting prose that is Kathryn Harrison’s trademark.”—Jennifer Egan   “[A] splendid and surprising book . . . Harrison has given us something enduring.”—The New York Times Book Review   “[Harrison delivers] this oft-told moment with shocking freshness. . . . Masha re-invents our ideas of Rasputin, and the world of Nicholas and Alexandra is imbued with a glow whose fierceness is governed by the imminence of its loss.”—Los Angeles Times   “A mesmerizing novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine   “Bewitching . . . Harrison sets historic facts like jewels in this intricately fashioned work of exalted empathy and imagination, a literary Fabergé egg. . . . [A] dazzling return to historical fiction.”—Booklist (starred review) Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

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  • At 2:51 on the morning of Friday, April 27, 1984, the communications center for Jackson County, Oregon, took the following emergency call.

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  • In the end, though the innocent child had to die, the murderous one was locked away forever and the one with the talent to survive was given her chance.

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