By Susan K. Perry
Kylie Moran dispenses humanist advice to readers in her local newspaper advice column, A Rational Woman. But when a shock turns her world upside down, is rationality enough to keep her going? Susan Perry delivers a riveting account of how one humanist copes with disaster without a God crutch to fall back on.
Susan K. Perry is a bestselling author, a popular blogger, and a social psychologist. Her non-fiction books include Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity; Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching, Offbeat Learning Activities; and Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way. Her many hundreds of articles, essays, reviews, and columns have appeared in publications such as Psychology Today, Child, Los Angeles Magazine, Writer’s Digest, USA Today, and Woman’s World. She has taught writing through university extensions and online. Kylie’s Heel is her first novel.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Stephen Perry, whose first collection of poetry is Questions About God, also available from Humanist Press.
"As a mother myself, I can say how hard this story hits the heart!!" - Genevieve Franklin, Goodreads
"In Kylie’s Heel, Ms. Perry has described the unraveling of a woman at a crossroads in her life. With clear and insightful prose, the author shows us how devastating the dissolution of all that a woman holds dear can be. We follow her through pain and anguish culminating in a decision to take her own life. But then Ms. Perry shows us how a rational person can bear such loss without resorting to a 'higher power' nor denigrating those that believe in a 'better place.' I highly recommend this book to those looking for a contemplative book about one woman’s story of loss and recovery." - N. E. White, "The Atheist's Quill"
Being a parent myself, Kylie’s Heel pulled me in instantly. It pulls both gently and harshly on a parent’s every wish, concern, and fear for her child. [Perry's] ability to make the reader feel as if s/he is living the text him/herself is impressive, at times haunting.
--Susan Newman, Ph.D., Psychology Today
Kylie's Heel is a deftly crafted novel that is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is entertaining and compelling. Perry is an impressive author able to engage her reader's total attention from beginning to end. Kylie's Heel is highly recommended reading.
--Julie Summers, Midwest Book Review
Perry . . . delves into our imaginations early. Our hero has a number of dilemmas concerning [her son] Dor’s adventure, all personal and all needing to be resolved before Part 2. Following the trail of thoughts and discoveries was quite enjoyable. . . . Kylie’s essays for a local paper are scattered throughout the story and provide some acumen into our storyteller’s insights on life. They are also written in a second voice, something that is most difficult, even for a seasoned writer.
--David Rosman, New York Journal of Books
Kylie's Heel is a terrific read. . . . What Kylie has to deal with is more than should be required of any mother, and the way she deals with it becomes the substance of the story: a full-fledged and deeply emotional interior struggle that culminates in a flirtation -- no, a love affair -- with thoughts of suicide. Perry presents us with an entirely convincing, deeply moving portrait of a human soul in conflict. But there's a lighter side to the story. Perry -- and Kylie with her -- has a quirky sense of the absurdity of life. Her character writes a newspaper advice column as "A Rational Woman," handing out wry nuggets of advice to those struggling with life's problems. Little does she expect to be herself confronted so brutally with the irrational forces that beset her correspondents.
--Peter Clothier, Huffington Post
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“Kylie’s Heel burrows deep into the mind with its pathos and intelligence. Its power slowly builds into a crescendo of insight. This is a novel I will never forget, no more than if I myself had lived it.”
—Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, philosopher, MacArthur Fellow, and award-winning author of Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction; Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal and Quantum Physics; Mazel; and The Mind-Body Problem. Designated Humanist of the Year 2011 by the American Humanist Association.
“Susan Perry has written a compelling and compassionate novel about love and loss and renewal. What a fine fiction debut!”
—Hilma Wolitzer, author of 14 books, including the novels An Available Man, The Tunnel of Love, and Summer Reading.
“Susan K. Perry has moved and inspired many readers through her non-fiction; now, with Kylie’s Heel, she is poised to touch readers through her fiction, as well. This affecting novel explores the gulf that can grow between head and heart, and reminds us that rationality, in all its shimmering clarity, doesn’t protect us against loss.”
—Gayle Brandeis, author of The Book of Dead Birds, winner of Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change; as well as Self Storage, Delta Girls, and My Life with the Lincolns.
“A far-ranging intelligence illuminates every page of Kylie’s Heel, whose heroine encounters the worst of news, and whose journey through her terror encompasses all areas of human ingenuity. Remarks about poetry, philosophy and pot open a world of reflection to the reader, not to mention real estate, Marriage Encounter, and how to write an advice column. The narrator’s twin sister provides the arena for commentary on religion, tribal war, atheism, suicide and sibling conflicts. The last half is a runaway suspense novel, with all the elements coming into focus at the highest speed. Kylie’s relations with the men in her life bring forth Perry’s knowledge of human intercourse, sexual and emotional. This powerful story of the love of a mother for her son creates an unforgettable portrait.”
—Merrill Joan Gerber, author of The Kingdom of Brooklyn, winner of the Ribalow Award from Hadassah Magazine, available now as an ebook along with seven of her other novels.
“In Kylie’s Heel, Susan Perry combines her deep psychological insight with her keen creative writing prowess to produce a compelling story that strikes to the very core of some of humanity’s most profound inner conflicts.”
—Scott Barry Kaufman, Cognitive Scientist, Co-Founder/Executive Dir. of The Creativity Post, author of Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined.
“Susan Perry’s Kylie’s Heel artfully combines suspense, romance and the aching reality of loss. An impressive debut novel.”
—Dennis Palumbo, psychotherapist and author of the Daniel Rinaldi mystery series