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Quiet Dell


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About the Author

Jayne Anne Phillips is the author of Lark and Termite, Motherkind, Shelter, and Machine Dreams, and the widely anthologized collections of stories, Fast Lanes and Black Tickets. A National Book Award and National Book Critic's Circle Award finalist, Phillips is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Bunting Fellowship, the Sue Kaufman Prize, and an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She is Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey, where she established The Writers At Newark Reading Series. Information, essays and text source photographs on her fiction can be viewed at


"Gripping...Chilling...The novel's heartbeat is Emily, a Chicago Tribune reporter covering Powers' arrest and trial...Quiet Dell does what Emily can't, thoughtfully grafting a 21st-century sensibility onto 20th-century ghastliness. Emily resists the fetters placed on her as a journalist and a woman, while Eric, a gay photographer who accompanies her, is a keen observer of closeted life in the South. Phillips exposes the era's prejudices less to render judgment than to show how cannily people like Emily and Eric worked around them."--Mark Athitakis "Minneapolis Star Tribune"
"Jayne Anne Phillips is one of the finest pure stylists in contemporary literature, and she's found a story that sounds like a perfect match for her talents."--Jeff Baker "Portland Oregonian"
"Phillips's plot is engaging, romantic, and fecund; her characters are beautiful, accomplished, and good--except for the bad guy, who is very bad indeed."--Jeff Baker "Publishers Weekly"
"Quiet Dell has all the elements of a murder mystery, but its emotional scope is larger and more complex. It combines a strange, hypnotic and poetic power with the sharp tones of documentary evidence. It offers a portrait of rural America in a time of crisis and dramatizes the lives of a number of characters who are fascinating and memorable."--Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn and The Testament of Mary "Booklist"
"[Quiet Dell's] success is due to a bold decision: Ms. Phillips has written a serial killer novel in which the serial killer hardly appears....Unabashed...There is a glowing beauty to the book's brave, generous version of history."--Sam Sacks "The Wall Street Journal"
"A mesmerizing novel drawn from the annals of infamous true crime...Meticulous, engrossing and spellbinding."--Philip Turner "The Great Gray Bridge"
"A novel of compelling impressions...Triumphant...[Jayne Anne Phillips is] perceptive enough to hear, and respond to, the smallest of humanity's sounds."--Erin McKnight "The Philadelphia Review of Books"
"An extraordinary achievement, a mesmerizing blend of fact and fiction that borrows from the historical record, including trial transcripts and newspaper accounts, but is cloaked in the shimmering language of a poet."--Leah Hager Cohen "Associated Press"
"Hauntingly imagines the victims' hopes, dreams, and terror...Phillips blends fact and fiction in a darkly poetic way: The result is an absorbing novel that leaves us rooting for the heroine Emily becomes--and mourning the lives the Eichers never got to enjoy."--Arianna Davis "O, the Oprah Magazine"
"In Quiet Dell, Phillips mesmerizingly spins together fact and fiction, vividly imagining the circumstances leading to their deaths, and sets a young female reporter on the case to solve it."--Elissa Schappell "Vanity Fair"
"In a brilliant fusion of fact and fiction, Jayne Anne Phillips has written the novel of the year. It's the story of a serial killer's crimes and capture, yes, but it's also a compulsively readable story of how one brave woman faces up to acts of terrible violence in order to create something good and strong in the aftermath. Quiet Dell will be compared to In Cold Blood, but Phillips offers something Capote could not: a heroine who lights up the dark places and gives us hope in our humanity."--Stephen King "Booklist"
"Jayne Anne Phillips's unsettling latest, Quiet Dell, spins out from a true crime story involving a 1930s-era-seducer--think Robert Mitchum in The Night of the Hunter--who preys on a widow and her children."--Arianna Davis "Vogue"
"Phillips, an acclaimed writer of largely contemporary fiction, this time draws on history: a criminal case from the early '30s....But if the factual underpinnings of this latest novel are unusual for Phillips, her ability to transform them into a fictionalized narrative place her at the top of her form. Phillips has carefully inserted imagined private moments and just a few fictional characters to create a story both splendid and irreparably sad... As Phillips has proved throughout her decades of fiction writing, there is evil in the world, but there are some who will stand in its way."--Celia McGee "Chicago Tribune"
"Phillips' extensive reporting--she quotes from newspaper stories, letters between Eicher and her 'suitor' and the trial transcript--gives the book its considerable heft. And her creation of a Chicago reporter named Emily Thornhill helps to frame the story of the eight-decade-old event in a fresh way. Quiet Dell is a smart combination of true crime, history and fiction tied together with Phillips' seamlessly elegant writing....As the book proceeds to its dark conclusion, Emily offers readers a glimpse of light."--Amy Driscoll "Miami Herald"
"Phillips's effort to do justice -- aesthetic and moral -- to the victims feels bold and honorable...moving, even transporting...Phillips allows her own ample gifts to soar."--Leah Hager Cohen "Boston Globe"
"Phillips's prose is as haunting as the questions she raises about the natures of sin, evil and grace."--Jeff Baker "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
"Sometimes eerie and dreamlike, others grippingly tense, yet warmly human, always written with beauty and emotional power, Quiet Dell is a virtuoso performance by a highly original writer."--Colette Bancroft "Tampa Bay Times"

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