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Saint X

By Alexis Schaitkin
Author: Alexis Schaitkin
ISBN: 9781250219596
ON SALE: 02/18/2020

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When you lose the person who is most essential to you, who do you become?

Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America’s 20 Books We’re Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue‘s Best Books to Read This Winter and Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of February 2020!

“Richly atmospheric and irresistibly suspenseful.” – Joyce Carol Oates

Hailed as a “marvel of a book” and “brilliant and unflinching,” Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another.

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men―employees at the resort―are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth―not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and FuriesSaint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that culminates in an emotionally powerful ending.“Here is a marvel of a book, a kaleidoscopic examination of race and privilege, family and self, told with the propulsive, kinetic focus of a crime thriller. Brilliant and unflinching, Saint X marks the debut of a stunningly gifted writer. I simply couldn’t stop reading.” ―Chang-rae Lee, author of On Such A Full Sea

Alexis Schaitkin
Alexis Schaitkin’s stories and essays have appeared in The Southern Review, Southwest Review, Ecotone, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and her essays have been notable mentions in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.

Praise for Alexis Schaitkin

'Saint X' is hypnotic. Schaitkin's characters...are so intelligent and distinctive it feels not just easy, but necessary, to follow them. I devoured [it] in a day.
Oyinkan Braithwaite
The New York Times
Richly atmospheric, by turns coolly satiric and warmly romantic, Alexis Schaitkin’s brilliant debut novel Saint X imagines a chorus of voices in the aftermath of the alleged murder of a privileged American girl vacationing in an exotic Caribbean country. Part ’true-crime’ thriller and part coming-of-age novel narrated by the deceased girl’s younger sister, Saint X is irresistibly suspenseful and canny.
Joyce Carol Oates
This writer is fearless, and her gamble pays off. This killer debut is both a thriller with a vivid setting and an insightful study of race, class, and obsession.
Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
There’s one moment in every person’s life, posits Saint X, that will define the rest of it. For many in this novel, it’s the death of Alison Thomas, a teenage girl who perishes while vacationing with her family on a Caribbean island. The mystery remains unsolved until years later, when her sister Claire runs into one of the original suspects in New York and befriends him, hoping to piece together what happened to Alison. Claire’s obsessive pursuit of the truth gives Alexis Schaitkin’s debut the urgency of a thriller, but its most compelling chapters take the perspectives of peripheral characters, whose accounts alter our understanding of Alison’s death–and of where it happened: a cruel, fragile paradise.
Entertainment Weekly
One of the year's buzziest debuts.
Bustle
The 22 Most Anticipated Books of February 2020
Saint X is slightly miraculous. Funny, chilling, moving, and throughout, deeply intelligent. We follow Emily into the depths of her obsessive quest with fascination and, in the end, rise with her as she moves on. This is an utterly original and engrossing novel written with the surest possible hand.
Christopher Tilghman
Author of Thomas and Beal in the Midi

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