The Night Child: A Novel

The Night Child: A Novel

by Anna Quinn

Audiobook(MP3 on CD - Unabridged)

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All Nora Brown wants is to teach high school English and live a quiet life in Seattle with her husband and six-year-old daughter. But one November day, moments after dismissing her class, a girl’s face appears above the students’ desks—a wild numinous face with startling blue eyes, a face floating on top of shapeless drapes of purples and blues where arms and legs should have been. Terror rushes through Nora’s body—the kind of raw terror you feel when there’s no way out, when every cell in your body, your entire body, is on fire—when you think you might die. Twenty-four hours later, while on Thanksgiving vacation, the face appears again. This time, it whispers, Remember the Valentine’s dress. Shaken once again, Nora meets with neurologists and eventually, a psychiatrist. As the story progresses, a terrible secret is discovered—a secret that pushes Nora toward an even deeper psychological breakdown.The Night Child is a breathtaking story about split consciousness, saving a broken child, and the split between past and present. It’s about the extraordinary capacity within each of us to save ourselves through visionary means.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538422373
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 01/30/2018
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Anna Quinn owns the Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Bookstore in Port Townsend, Washington, where she has been named one of the city’s Patron of the Arts. She is a published poet and essayist with twenty-six years of experience teaching and leading writing workshops across the country.

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The Night Child: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story kept my interest and without a doubt there were many surprises as well!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Night Child by Anna Quinn January 2018 I received this digital ARC from publisher, Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Nora Brown is a high school English teacher who begins to experience debilitating headaches and visions around the time of her daughter, Fiona's 6th birthday. These symptoms bring her to neurologists and psychiatrists to assess the cause of her visions and the raw terror she experiences as a result. As the story unfolds, Nora uncovers past regressed memories from her childhood in therapy. Her story explores the ability within to rival against the experiences of the past and forge a new reality. When the book seemed to end in an unusual fashion, I was taken back to the beginning of the book where Nora is discussing Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse" with her students. She cites how it takes daring writers to veer from the traditional story of beginning, middle and end. There are some interesting correlations between Nora and Virginia which I could only realize upon completion of the novel. Consequently, what appeared to be an abrupt ending suddenly became more thought provoking. I agree with other reviewers that the book description does not portray an accurate picture of what to expect from this book. Honestly, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would based on he description. When I started reading It felt oddly like a "paranormal" story which is not my preferred genre. After a few chapters I was beginning to see how the story would come together. I don't like giving spoilers but given that many reviewers have already disclosed certain aspects of the story, I shall add my opinion on the book description. The description mentions "split consciousness" and a "deeper psychological breakdown". I believe that it makes sense to disclose the history of sexual abuse. Because I'm a tune to these issues, I immediately considered abuse as the root of her visions and trauma which would make this book difficult to read for some people. What made this story unique was how it used split consciousness and psychological support to delve into how people handle trauma differently.
LeslieLindsay More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the most powerful, most lyrically written book I’ve read in a long time. THE NIGHT CHILD encompasses luminous prose in a tender tale of traumatic childhood experiences and the fragile curtain of mental health and motherhood in this arresting debut. Nora Brown teaches high school English and lives an uncomplicated life with her 6-year old daughter Fiona and husband Paul. But when, one day near Thanksgiving, Nora glimpses a disembodied face with startling blue eyes and then, later, a message and the image deepens, Nora is completely terrorized. What—whom—was that? And what do they want? Tests are run. There’s nothing physically or medically wrong with Nora, so what was going on? Was it microsleep? Was it just her imagination? Shaken and completely unnerved, Nora seeks the care of a psychiatrist. As the tale progresses, we learn darker truths, family history and secrets surface, and there’s more, too. It's about motherhood and teaching, it's about a stale marriage and glimpses into family history and a brief journey to Ireland. I tore through THE NIGHT CHILD. Quinn’s prose is so lucid, so glittering, it absolutely took my breath away. Readers need to be aware that the experiences portrayed are traumatic, yet under Quinn’s gentle hand, they are handled with softness and sympathy, maybe even poetry. There are so many lovely things I could say about THE NIGHT CHILD, but I really think this is one you just have to read on your own to get the full magnitude of Quinn's prose and her story. In some regards (descent into madness), this book could be compared with Sylvia Plath's THE BELL JAR, but also it had me thinking of Nellie Bly's TEN DAYS IN A MADHOUSE but in more contemporary terms, readers will see a comparison with the somber style of Anita Shreve, also the lyrical feel of T. Greenwood (especially, WHERE I FOUND HER), Cynthia Swanson's work (both THE BOOKSELLER and THE GLASS FOREST) as well as Thomas Christopher Greene. Such a tremendous debut. Five giant stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Well, not really something you would read on Valentine's Day on purpose, it was a little different, especially considering the day. I knew it would be emotional as per the hint in the blurb on the website. And the blurb was totally correct. A remembrance of what happened back in Nora's childhood that was affecting her was cray, cray. And I mean that in a good way. Not the event, but how she stowed it away and lived her life. That is, until her daughter reached a certain age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I did not see the ending coming. Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I really didn’t expect this novel to take all the twists and turns that it took. As the novel began to close, I couldn’t believe that the author really chose that ending for the main character. With everything that had occurred, it just didn’t seem right. Nora is not content teaching high school like she used to be. Vacation is coming soon for her and her family but not before she begins to have visions. These visions scare Nora as they speak to her and mention subjects that she knows nothing about. Speaking with a psychiatrist, her visions evolve, causing Nora to fear them. I enjoyed this confusing period in the novel as it added a mysterious element and it created tension to many areas within the novel. As Nora speaks with her psychiatrist, we meet Margaret, someone from Nora’s past. Margaret was an important part of Nora’s past and she is needed now to help Nora get through this current period in her life. I enjoyed this novel as it did a great job dealing with some tough issues but there were times when I was reading, that I thought it would have been nice to have more information on some of the individuals I was reading about. I didn’t think there was a lot of information about Nora’s husband. We knew the negatives but there had to be some positives in there somewhere, right? Her brother James, we know they were close but some information on their childhood would have sealed the deal for me. I liked Nora for the most part. She was intense, creative and her emotions were deep. I wanted something different for her as the novel ended, nothing nice and neat, just a different ending. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
4.5 STARS......This is a wonderful debut novel, Ms Quinn is an extraordinarily storyteller who has done her research well. Fast paced and full of details, the Night Child takes us on an incredible journey not soon to be forgotten. Nora is a high school English teacher who experiences severe trauma as a child (trauma left vague here purposely to avoid spoilers). Nora begins to experience visions of a six year old child with startling blue eyes. These visions lead her to undergo psychotherapy. Luckily she finds a remarkable therapist who is non judgmental and excellent in his field, he helps Nora get to the core of her struggle. As the story unfolds, we begin to see the power of the human brain. It never ceases to amaze me how effectively the brain will take over and protect the physical body from what it can't endure. The story goes into detail about Nora's current family life, work life, childhood, her tough road to recovery and finally healing. The other characters, Nora's daughter, husband, mother, principal of her high school and her brother are all key players and each brought important light and relevance to the story. Her daughter now six years old, a key age, probably triggering the trauma to resurface after being buried for so long. Her husband who is unhappy with her and complains she's cold, only makes sense. Her brother who was there with her in her childhood and triggers some of the events by trying to locate their long lost father. Excellent read. Well done Ms Quinn. Many thanks to a Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
lovesjournaling More than 1 year ago
What does it take to heal a broken mind? What does it take to break a mind in the first place? What do you do when coping mechanisms stop working? Nora Brown deals with all these questions and more in Anna Quinn’s debut novel, The Night Child. One November day, moments after dismissing her English class for Thanksgiving, a young girl's face appears above the students' desks. Imagine her fear when the face reappears and when an alternate personality named Margaret comes out in a psychiatrist’s office. What’s really going on, and what will it do to her husband, her brother, and her sweet, six-year-old daughter Fiona. Anna Quinn’s debut novel is a detailed work of fiction that explores the depths of a psychological breakdown with insight and compassion. She writes well, showing how Nora became the woman she is and how she survived unspeakable evil. The characters are clear-cut, the plot moves forward as Nora’s alter ego comes out, and the issues it raises are important. I highly recommend this story for women and mature girls, for those in the helping professions, and for anyone who’s ever been confused by pain and love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this as an ARC from net galley - thank you! This was s quick, page turner little novel. I initially thought it was going to have supernatural elements but it turned out be a psychological portrayal of a woman who has been abused as a child and has developed a dissociative disorder as a result. I felt that the book portrayed her mental illness fairly accurately and without I over dramatizing it. It was a good insight into the trauma as well as the treatment. There were no crazy twists I this book but it was interesting and good to read.
jmchshannon More than 1 year ago
The Night Child should come with a warning label. This is not only because Anna Quinn's debut novel deals with repressed memories and the reasons for them. It is also because Ms. Quinn's writing is so hauntingly beautiful that it is as emotionally dangerous as anything else the novel holds. In fact, many scenes are almost poetic in their sentence structure and ability to convey so much in a few short words. This is especially true of later scenes as Nora begins to question her sanity. The Night Child is a tough novel to read. The subject matter is very sensitive and will be a trigger read for some readers. Ms. Quinn is more explicit than anyone will feel comfortable with reading, but she does this so that we can understand Nora's frame of mind throughout the novel. For if we are uncomfortable merely reading about these scenes, what must the mental trauma be like for someone living them, even if she is a fictional character. Throughout it all, in even the worst scenes, Ms. Quinn still finds a way to be delicate and careful in her verbiage. This too is important if only because she maintains the horror of the situation without delving into the grotesque or vulgar. In addition to those very difficult scenes, the novel is emotionally exhausting. Ms. Quinn's writing lures you into the story so that you are emotionally invested in Nora's well-being. Even if you may not like her as a character, which may be the case as she is not the most enjoyable of characters, her emotions are your emotions. The roller coaster ride she lands on is brutal. With virtually no moments of calm to collect yourself, it is an unceasing barrage of the rawest of emotions, leaving you drained after each reading session. Throughout it all though, there is remarkable resilience and beauty in Nora's story and thus in the novel, making it a gorgeous read. The human mind is a marvelous instrument that finds amazing ways to protect itself during the most traumatizing horrors, and it is capable of the most astounding healing. It is this healing which is truly remarkable and makes for some of the most poignant scenes, filling you with hope. After all, if someone can survive what Nora experiences we can survive anything, which means The Night Child is the perfect reminder that not only can things be worse but that things will get better.
bamcooks More than 1 year ago
*Somewhere on the spectrum between 3 and 4 stars. Another book that is hard to rate because it hits hard where it hurts--in your heart. This book should come with a warning label that states it deals with disturbing topics in a frank and graphic manner. I was not aware of the uncomfortable subject matter when I requested an arc from NetGalley and began reading. Even the publisher's synopsis does not really reveal what lies in store. So be forewarned.... Having said all that, I think Anna Quinn should be praised for her fine writing in this her debut novel. She tackles an important topic that is all too frequently in the headlines or worse, covered up: the sexual abuse of a child and the lifelong damage that can inflict. The main character is Nora Brown, a high-school English teacher living in Seattle with her husband and 6-year-old daughter. She is preparing to leave school for the Thanksgiving break when she has an hallucination that shakes her to the core: she sees the disembodied face of a little blue-eyed girl. Later, while dressing to go out for dinner with her family, the hallucination is repeated, but this time the apparition speaks to her: "Remember the Valentine's dress." What in the world is going on? Fearing she's having a nervous breakdown, Nora undergoes a series of neurological tests that show nothing physically wrong with her so it is suggested she see a psychiatrist, Dr. David Forrester. In these sessions, Nora reveals details about her childhood--how her mother fell to her death on the basement stairs, after which she and her younger brother were sent to live with grandparents in Ireland, and never saw their father again. After several sessions, there is a shocking breakthrough and David begins to think she is suffering from some form of PTSD. But what was the traumatic episode that caused the damage? As she makes some progress in her sessions, matters in her personal life seem to be devolving: her once neat home is a mess; she thinks her husband is being unfaithful; an angry snit frightens her little daughter; she punches out a parent at school. Would everyone be better off without her? The mental health procedures are interesting--I don't know how realistic they are or how quickly a patient like this would progress. Some have suggested that this story is somewhat autobiographical but the author does not reveal that in her acknowledgments--just that it took a decade-long effort to write the story. I would be interested in reading more from this talented author and look forward to more opportunities.
Jolie More than 1 year ago
Ever read a book and are totally floored by the end of the book? Well, The Night Child did that to me. I went into this book thinking that it was going to take a supernatural or paranormal bend. Well, I was 100% wrong. The Night Child is neither. Instead, what I got, was a taut thriller that had me 100% completely hooked. Put it this way, I started The Night Child as my nightly before bed read and I ended staying up until almost 12 am because I couldn’t go to sleep without finding out what happens to Nora. How do I describe Nora? Well in the beginning of the book, she was barely hanging on to her marriage. When she first saw the face, she did the right thing and went to the doctor, who referred her to a therapist. Slowly, I could see her sanity unraveling as she was forced to face some pretty intense memories from her past….her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment. But there were more to her memories and when Margaret made an appearance in the middle of the book, I knew that something horrible happened to her. I really wish I could go more into the plot or the characters in this book. But if I do, that would be giving away major spoilers and I really don’t want to do that. Trust me when I say that what I write here doesn’t even begin to scratch what this book is about. **I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**
trutexan More than 1 year ago
Anna Quinn does an outstanding job with her debut novel, The Night Child. After a bit of a slow start, her writing soon had me engrossed in the story and I read right through until the end. Nora, a young teacher and mother, sees a vision of a small child and from there, she embarks on an emotional rollercoaster as past events from her childhood come to light. We all have those moments when a smell, a song or a situation will churn up a memory from our childhood. Just imagine if those memories caused intense fear. This is just part of what Nora endured as she discovered the truth from her past. I thought it was a bit frightening in relation to Nora’s post traumatic stress and split personality and I felt such empathy for her as she worked through these issues. Readers should be warned there is sensitive subject matter relating to child abuse and references to suicide. Many thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for allowing me to read an advance copy and give my honest review.
DeliaLatham More than 1 year ago
Saying this book touched me on a very deep level doesn’t even come close to the impact I felt. It twisted my insides…rattled my brain…tore my emotions asunder. Nora’s destructive clash of past and present are mind-bending—not only for her, but for any reader who possesses even an ounce of empathy and/or humanity. Some scenes are more than a little hard to read, but the book is extraordinary, if one can endure those moments of helpless, emotional drowning. Any writer who can draw readers so thoroughly into a scene that all sense of self is lost, to merge completely with a character, has my vote. Any book that can make me lose myself, steal hours of sleep, and take me to the edges of my own sanity—that book deserves eight out of five stars. I’d give The Night Child at least that many. Sensational to the nth degree.
Alfoster More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating look at one woman's traumatic childhood and her attempt to block out the past. When Nora begins seeing faces and can't reconcile them with reality, she begins working with a therapist who believes she is suffering from PTSD. Helping her unlock her family's secrets is a difficult process and it takes its toll on her six-year-old daughter and her inattentive husband. Fortunately, she finds inner strength and resilience that allow her to confront her demons and begin to repair the damage that her memories have been guarding all this time. Suspenseful and realistic!
CrazyCat_Alex More than 1 year ago
A very emotional read. It was hard to read about the things that had happened to Nora when she was a child. How she had to live with a molesting father and a mentally ill mother. Nobody helped her, not even the pastor she confided in and in the end Nora locked it all away and never thought about it again. When her daughter is six years old and it’s Valentin's Day Nora’s world falls apart and she might loose everything - Paul, her husband, her daughter and her sanity. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing!
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
To ESCAPE is to slip away from threatened evil. Anna Quinn does an amazing telling of how Nora Brown uses this method to overcome an abusive childhood. A TRIGGER like in a gun initiates a reaction that in this novel causes suppressed memories to sift to the surface. Intense telling of a teacher who seeks therapy after a vision of a child appears. Story started a bit slow but eventually resulted in prose that caused tears and physical discomfort to finish. With so many psychological works available to read this one is made special by the authors talent in the telling. Would have liked an ending different than was written to leave Nora's future clearer. "A copy of this book was provided by Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
KindleKat64 More than 1 year ago
This book was intense, powerful, emotional and raw. That being said it was wonderfully written and I am happy that I read it even if it was quite disturbing at times and left me emotionally drained. I would read more from this author for sure. She is a talented storyteller.
lauriesophee More than 1 year ago
A powerful story, regarding a woman who is a high school teacher who suddenly has visions. These continue to return, causing a long, and upsetting path of mental illness. This book is graphic in her terrible suffering- both physical and emotional as well as her family and those close to her. The psychiatrist is helpful and empathetic, but ultimately the solution rests chiefly on the patient. "The secrets make us sick, it's the telling that heals." says the Doctor. An interesting and intriguing novel!