A masterful debut novel as gripping and psychologically complex as it is beautifully written.
'Part "true-crime" thriller and part coming-of-age novel... Saint X is irresistibly suspenseful and canny.' Joyce Carol Oates
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister Alison vanishes from the luxury resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X on the last night of her family's vacation. Several days later Alison's naked body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men, employees at the resort, are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. It's national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved, but for Claire's family there is only the sad return home to broken lives.
Years later, riding in a New York City taxicab, Claire recognizes the name on the cabbie's licence, Clive Richardson - her driver is one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. The fateful encounter sets her on an obsessive pursuit of the truth, not only what happened on the night of Alison's death, but the no less elusive question of exactly who was this sister she was barely old enough to know: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation. As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will uncover the truth, an unlikely intimacy develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by a tragedy.
Alexis Schaitkin's Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that hurtles to a devastating end.
PRAISE FOR SAINT X
'This killer debut is both a thriller with a vivid setting and an insightful study of race, class, and obsession.' Kirkus Reviews, starred review
'Mystery fans will appreciate this engrossing read' Vogue, Best Books to Read This Winter
Alexis Schaitkin's short stories and essays have appeared in many literary journals and newspapers. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and her essays have been notable mentions in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts with her husband and son.
Engrossing -- Vogue US, 'The 22 Best Books To Read This Winter' Here is a marvel of a book, a kaleidoscopic examination of race and privilege, family and self, told with the propulsive, kinetic focus of a crime thriller. Brilliant and unflinching, Saint X marks the debut of a stunningly gifted writer. I simply couldn't stop reading. -- Chang-Rae Lee Richly atmospheric, by turns coolly satiric and warmly romantic, Alexis Schaitkin's brilliant debut novel Saint X imagines a chorus of voices in the aftermath of the alleged rape/murder of a privileged American girl vacationing in an exotic Caribbean country. Part 'true-crime' thriller and part coming-of-age novel narrated by the deceased girl's younger sister, Saint X is irresistibly suspenseful and canny. -- Joyce Carol Oates