A lonely young woman working in a boys prison outside Bostonin the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant,harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightestnew voices in fictionSo here we are. My name was Eileen Dunlop. Now you knowme. I was twenty... -four years old then, and had a job that paidfifty-seven dollars a week as a kind of secretary at a privatejuvenile correctional facility for teenage boys. I think of it nowas what it really was for all intents and purposesa prison forboys. I will call it Moorehead. Delvin Moorehead was a terriblelandlord I had years later, and so to use his name for such a placefeels appropriate.In a week, I would run away from home and never go back.This is the story of how I disappeared.The Christmas season offers little cheer for EileenDunlop, an unassuming yet disturbed youngwoman trapped between her role as her alcoholicfathers caretaker in a home whose squalor isthe talk of the neighborhood and a day job as asecretary at the boys prison, filled with its ownquotidian horrors. Consumed by resentmentand self-loathing, Eileen tempers her dreary dayswith perverse fantasies and dreams of escaping tothe big city. In the meantime, she fills her nightsand weekends with shoplifting, stalking a buffprison guard named Randy, and cleaning up herincreasingly deranged fathers messes. When thebright, beautiful, and cheery Rebecca Saint Johnarrives on the scene as the new counselor atMoorehead, Eileen is enchanted and proves unableto resist what appears at first to be a miraculouslybudding friendship. In a Hitchcockian twist, heraffection for Rebecca ultimately pulls her intocomplicity in a crime that surpasses her wildestimaginings.Played out against the snowy landscape ofcoastal New England in the days leading up toChristmas, young Eileens story is told from thegimlet-eyed perspective of the now much oldernarrator. Creepy, mesmerizing, and sublimelyfunny, in the tradition of Shirley Jackson andearly Vladimir Nabokov, this powerful debutnovel enthralls and shocks, and introduces oneof the most original new voices in contemporaryliterature.
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