Strange Piece of Paradise
A return to the american west to investigate my attempted murder--and solve the riddle of myself.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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In the summer of 1977, Terri Jentz and her Yale roommate,
Shayna Weiss, make a cross-country bike trip. They pitch a
tent in the desert of central Oregon. As they are sleeping,
a man in a pickup truck deliberately runs over the tent. He
then attacks them with an ax. The horrific crime is reported
in newspapers across the country. No one is ever
arrested. Both women survive, but Shayna suffers from
amnesia, while Terri is left alone with memories of the
attack. Their friendship is shattered.
later, Terri returns to the small town where she was nearly
murdered, on the first of many visits she will make "to
solve the crime that would solve me."¯ And she makes an
extraordinary discovery: the violence of that night is as
present for the community as it is for her. Slowly, her
extensive interviews with the townspeople yield a terrifying
revelation: many say they know who did it, and he is living
freely in their midst. Terri then sets out to discover the
truth about the crime and its aftermath, and to come to
terms with the wounds that broke her life into a before and
an after. Ultimately she finds herself face-to-face with the
eloquent, and paced like the most riveting of thrillers,
Strange Piece of Paradise is the electrifying account
of Terri's investigation into the mystery of her near
murder. A startling profile of a psychopath, a sweeping
reflection on violence and the myth of American
individualism, and a moving record of a brave inner journey
from violence to hope, this searing, unforgettable work is
certain to be one of the most talked about books of the
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