• Paperback: 194 pages
• Publisher: Fiction Std (November 16, 2011)
Set in the turbulent 1970s when Patty Hearst became Tanya the Revolutionary, Hystera is a timeless story of madness, yearning, and identity. After a fatal accident takes her father away, Lillian Weill blames herself for the family tragedy. Tripping through failed love affairs with men and doomed friendships, all Lilly wants is to be sheltered from reality. She retreats from the outside world into a world of delusion and the private terrors of a New York City Psychiatric Hospital. Unreachable behind her thick wall of fears, the world of hospital corridors and strangers become a vessel of faith. She is a foreigner there until her fellow patients release her from her isolation with the power of human intimacy. How do we know who we really are? How do we find our true selves under the heavy burden of family and our pasts? In an unpredictable portrait of mental illness, Hystera penetrates to the pulsing heart of the questions.
“Hystera is a haunting, mesmerizing story of madness, longing and identity, set against one of the most fascinating times in NYC history. Skolkin-Smith’s alchemy is to inhabit her characters even as she crafts a riveting story that is nothing short of brilliant.” –Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
“Inside a psychiatric ward in the 1970’s, Leora Skolkin-Smith’s Hystera takes you on a ride through the wilderness of a young woman’s emotional trauma and breakdown, and seizes upon the intricacies of mental health, our phobias, and fears around it. Brilliantly envisioned, this story of passion and familial dysfunction, bears witness to an exquisite reknitting of a young woman’s soul, told in language that is brave, startling, an ultimately tender and wise.” –Jessica Keener, author of Night Swim
“Leora Skolkin-Smith’s novel Hystera is an unforgettable story of mental illness. Set in the New York City of the 1970s, the book is told in precise language that sears the characters into your consciousness.” –Large-Hearted Boy
Leora Skolkin-Smith’s first published novel, Edges, was nominated for the 2006 PEN/Faulkner Award by Grace Paley. Edges is in pre-production under the name The Fragile Mistress.
Leora was recently a panelist at The Haitian Cultural International Book Festival, The Miami International Book Fair, The Virginia Festival of the Book, and The National Women’s Association. She is currently a contributing editor to readysteadybook.com and her critical essays have been published in The Washington Post, The National Book Critic’s Circle’s Critical Mass, Conversational Reading, the Quarterly Review, among other places.
Leora’s Tour Stops
Monday, March 5th: Veronica M.D.
Tuesday, March 6th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, March 7th: Raging Bibliomania
Wednesday, March 14th: Life In Review
Thursday, March 15th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, March 15th: Book Hooked Blog
Monday, March 19th: The House of the Seven Tails
Tuesday, March 20th: Stiletto Storytime
Thursday, March 22nd: I’m Booking It