In his earlier acclaimed novels, Craig Holden created a thrilling vision of America that was at once lyrical and dark. Now, with The Narcissist's Daughter, he expands that vision in his most accomplished and controversial work to date, a drama about the collision between two families, both riddled with desires but from opposite sides of the tracks.
From the outside the Kesslers appear to have it all: Dr. Ted Kessler is a decorated veteran who now runs the lab at a large medical center. He and his wife, Joyce, live with their daughter, Jessi, in a beautiful house in the estate section of an Ohio city in the 1970s. Ted is widely respected as a clinician, researcher, manager, and businessman. But when he resolves to mentor an ambitious working-class student, this idyllic little world is threatened.
Syd Redding, the gruff, streetwise narrator of The Narcissist's Daughter, has no plan in mind for the Kesslers. He's a bored pre-med student with few prospects, a failure for a stepfather, and a sister who seems to be following his example. Soon after he meets Kessler's wife and daughter, he finds himself ensnared in the secret machinations of this magnetic family on the brink of unraveling.
The Narcissist's Daughter is the compulsively readable and suspenseful story of a simple affair that blossoms into obsession, exploitation, and finally, a passion for revenge that threatens to ruin the lives of everyone involved.