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Half the Kingdom

A Novel

Lore Segal

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


New York Times Notable Book 2013

"No one writes like Segal — her glittering intelligence, her piercing wit, and her dazzling insights into manners and mores, are a profound pleasure. From first to last I loved this wise and irreverent novel." Margot Livesey

I always feel in her work such a sense of toughness and humor…. Her writing is sad and funny, and that makes it more of both." Jennifer Egan

“Lore Segal is a marvelous and fearless writer.  No subject is too hard, too absurd, or too painful  for her wise, peculiar and brilliant fiction.” —Lily Tuck

The renowned New Yorker writer and Pulitzer Prize finalist Lore Segal—whom The New York Times declared "closer than anyone to writing the Great American Novel"—delivers a hilarious, poignant and profoundly moving tale of living, loving and aging in America today

At Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, doctors have noticed a marked uptick in Alzheimer's patients. People who seemed perfectly lucid just a day earlier suddenly show signs of advanced dementia. Is it just normal aging, or an epidemic? Is it a coincidence, or a secret terrorist plot?

In the looking-glass world of Half the Kingdom—where terrorist paranoia and end-of-the-world hysteria mask deeper fears of mortality; where parents' and their grown children's feelings vacillate between frustration and tenderness; and where the broken medical system leads one character to quip, "Kafka wrote slice-of-life fiction"—all is familiar and yet slightly askew.

Lore Segal masterfully interweaves her characters' lives—lives that, for good or for ill, all converge in Cedar's ER—into a funny, tragic, and tender portrait of how we live today.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 12, 2013 – The 85-year-old Lore Segal’s latest offering is a slim novel haunted by a specter worse than death: the loss of one’s mind. Joe Bernstine is the retired director of the Concordance Center, a think tank devoted to eschatology. As Joe’s own personal end draws near, he assembles an eclectic team of family and associates for one final project, The Compendium of End-of-World Scenarios, an encyclopedic catalogue of potential doom. Yet, as his team gets drawn into assisting Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in dealing with its recent rash of “copycat Alzheimer’s” (which has mysteriously struck all of the 62-plus patients who entered its ER with debilitating dementia), their own problems manifest. Joe has his family and associates enter the hospital in an attempt to decipher the mystery from within. The novel is structured in short sections, each titled after the character it follows, such as “Ida Farkasz” or “Francis Rhinelander,” and, aside from one mention of 9/11, it seems as if the book was written in the 1970s and preserved in amber. By weaving together the multiple narratives of those suffering from and fighting the epidemic, Segal’s story is both a disjointed and comprehensive tableau of the inevitable cruelty of mortality, or as one character puts it, “the Arbus Factor of old age.”
Half the Kingdom
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Oct 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Melville House
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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