It’s short, but certainly not sweet. Darkly honest and terrifying, The Kiss is the story of a woman whose father enters her life for the first time in her early 20′s and makes her his lover. I had never heard of this book until the author appeared on Oprah to discuss incest when Mackenzie Phillips published High on Arrival. The story was so unreal that I didn’t know what to expect. Kathryn Harrison appeared poised and together on Oprah, but the pieces didn’t fit. How could this seemingly normal woman have, by her own admission, fallen in love with her father?
If there is an answer to this question, The Kiss offers it. Kathryn Harrison writes emotion brilliantly. The reader inhabits the world of this story from the first page. It is impossible to stand at the periphery. Her writing has a percussive, poetic quality that makes such stark emotion feel safe and accessible. We move forward and backward in time easily as Harrison creates connections between all three members of this desperate family. It is hard to imagine a story that could be harder to tell, but Kathryn Harrison has done just that with grace and integrity.