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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
  • 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
    A Memoir
    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.

    Thicker Than Water

    Thicker Than Water
    A Novel
    Isabel is the troubled daughter of charismatic but reckless parents who hastily wed, divorced just as fast, and distanced themselves from each other–and their child. Left to her grandparents’ care, Isabel longs for her remote, glamorous mother and for a father who is a fading memory. Unable to control her agony, Isabel rebels in perverse and dangerous ways. A captivating novel that gives new meaning to Freud’s “family romance,” Thicker Than Water vividly illuminates the fragile line between love and the darker sides of passion.

    Saint Therese of Lisieux

    Saint Therese of Lisieux
    A Penguin Life
    More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

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

    — submitted by Flag This Quote For Review
  • 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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