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Leaving Time

Cover of Leaving Time

Leaving Time

A Novel
Throughout her blockbuster career, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that "not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us" (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new book, she has delivered her most affecting novel yet—and one unlike anything she's written before.

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother's whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice's case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna's memories dovetail with the events in her mother's journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.
"The Elephant" from NATURAL HISTORY by Dan Chiasson, copyright ©2005 by Dan Chiasson. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for Jodi Picoult

"Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance."—Stephen King

"It's hard to exaggerate how well Picoult writes."Financial Times

"Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships."The Boston Globe

"Picoult is a master of the craft of storytelling."—Associated Press
Throughout her blockbuster career, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that "not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us" (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new book, she has delivered her most affecting novel yet—and one unlike anything she's written before.

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice's old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother's whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice's case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna's memories dovetail with the events in her mother's journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.
"The Elephant" from NATURAL HISTORY by Dan Chiasson, copyright ©2005 by Dan Chiasson. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for Jodi Picoult

"Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance."—Stephen King

"It's hard to exaggerate how well Picoult writes."Financial Times

"Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships."The Boston Globe

"Picoult is a master of the craft of storytelling."—Associated Press
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    Jenna

    Some people used to believe that there was an elephant graveyard---a place that sick and old elephants would travel to to die. They'd slip away from their herds and would lumber across the dusty landscape, like the titans we read about in seventh grade in Greek Mythology. Legend said the spot was in Saudi Arabia; that it was the source of a supernatural force; that it contained a book of spells to bring about world peace.
    Explorers who went in search of the graveyard would follow dying elephants for weeks, only to realize they'd been led in circles. Some of these voyagers disappeared completely. Some could not remember what they had seen, and not a single explorer who claimed to have found the graveyard could ever locate it again.
    Here's why: The elephant graveyard is a myth.
    True, researchers have found groups of elephants that died in the same vicinity, many over a short period of time. My mother, Alice, would have said there's a perfectly logical reason for a mass burial site: a group of elephants who died all at once due to lack of food or water; a slaughter by ivory hunters. It's even possible that the strong winds in Africa could blow a scattering of bones into a concentrated pile. Jenna, she would have told me, there's an explanation for everything you see.
    There is plenty of information about elephants and death that is not fable but instead cold, hard science. My mother would have been able to tell me that, too. We would have sat, shoulder to shoulder, beneath the massive oak where Maura liked to shade herself, watching the elephant pick up acorns with her trunk and pitch them. My mother would rate each toss like an Olympic judge. 8.5 . . . 7.9. Ooh! A perfect 10.
    Maybe I would have listened. But maybe, too, I would have just closed my eyes. Maybe I would have tried to memorize the smell of bug spray on my mother's skin, or the way she absentmindedly braided my hair, tying it off on the end with a stalk of green grass.
    Maybe the whole time I would have been wishing there really was an elephant graveyard, except not just for elephants. Because then I'd be able to find her.

    Alice

    When I was nine---before I grew up and became a scientist---I thought I knew everything, or at least I wanted to know everything, and in my mind there was no difference between the two. At that age, I was obsessed with animals. I knew that a group of tigers was called a streak. I knew that dolphins were carnivores. I knew that giraffes had four stomachs and that the leg muscles of a locust were a thousand times more powerful than the same weight of human muscle. I knew that white polar bears had black skin beneath their fur, and that jellyfish had no brains. I knew all these facts from the Time--Life monthly animal fact cards that I had received as a birthday gift from my pseudo-stepfather, who had moved out a year ago and now lived in San Francisco with his best friend, Frank, who my mother called "the other woman" when she thought I wasn't listening.
    Every month new cards arrived in the mail, and then one day, in October 1977, the best card of all arrived: the one about elephants. I cannot tell you why they were my favorite animals. Maybe it was my bedroom, with its green shag jungle carpet and the wallpaper border of cartoon pachyderms dancing across the walls. Maybe it was the fact that the first movie I'd ever seen, as a toddler, was Dumbo. Maybe it was because the silk lining inside my mother's fur coat, the one she had inherited from her own mother, was made from an Indian sari and printed with elephants.
    From that Time--Life card, I learned the basics about elephants. They were the largest land animals on...

About the Author-
  • Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-two novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister's Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine The masterful ensemble narrating Picoult's latest novel allows the intriguing plot and recognizable characters that are her trademarks to take center stage. Picoult gives us an adolescent girl who enlists a failed psychic and an alcoholic private detective to help find her mother--an animal researcher who disappeared when the girl was 4. As the characters alternate chapters, the presenters develop them all into fully defined personalities while maintaining a roller-coaster pace as the plot moves toward its surprising conclusion. The backstory of family drama played out against the plight of African elephants is as rich and captivating as the prevailing plot. Leaving before the story ends will not be an option! M.O.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 16, 2014
    Picoult’s (The Storyteller) novel explores grief, memory, and motherhood through the unlikely lens of elephant behavior. Jenna Metcalf was three years old when her mother, Alice, disappeared from the elephant sanctuary where she worked as a researcher. Ten years later, Jenna is ready to launch a search. After poring over her mother’s research journals, consulting the Internet, and visiting her father in the mental institution where he’s been since shortly after the disappearance, she enlists outside assistance from Serenity Jones, a once-famous psychic whose gift appears to have deserted her, and Virgil Stanhope, the gruff, alcoholic ex-police detective who was once assigned to Alice’s case. With their help, Jenna finds new evidence at the now-closed sanctuary and begins to piece together the events of the night her mother disappeared, leading her to a few uncomfortable truths about the past, but bringing much-needed closure to her and her dad. Longtime fans of Picoult will recognize some of her stock characters—the precocious, sassy teenager; the distant, philosophical mother; the curmudgeonly surrogate father figure—as well the her trademark twist ending, which may well be her strangest to date. When she diverges from her usual formula her storytelling skills are most evident. The pachyderms are as complex as the humans, making the journey memorable and poignant.

  • The Boston Globe Praise for Leaving Time

    "Piercing and uplifting . . . a smart, accessible yarn with a suspenseful puzzle at its core."
  • Bookreporter "Poignant . . . an entertaining tale about parental love, friendship, loss."--The Washington Post

    "In Jenna, [Jodi] Picoult has created an unforgettable character who will easily endear herself to each and every reader. . . . Leaving Time may be her finest work yet."
  • Us Weekly "A riveting drama."
  • USA Today
    "This moving tale of a girl searching for her missing mom blends suspense, the supernatural and heartbreaking insights into elephants."--People

    "A fast-paced, surprise-ending mystery."
  • BookPage "[A] captivating and emotional story."
  • Publishers Weekly "With plenty of twists and a surprising ending, [Leaving Time] explores the grieving process and what happens when we cannot move on."--Woman's Day

    "Best-selling, reliably entertaining, and thought-provoking [Jodi] Picoult's newest multifaceted novel is redolent with elephant lore that explores the animals' behavior when faced with death and grief, and combines a poignant tale of human loss with a perplexing crime story that delivers a powerhouse ending."--Booklist

    "A truly engaging read . . . perfect for Picoult fans and book clubs."--Library Journal

    "Picoult's novel explores grief, memory, and motherhood through the unlikely lens of elephant behavior. . . . The pachyderms are as complex as the humans, making the journey memorable and poignant."
  • Associated Press Praise for Jodi Picoult

    "Picoult writes with unassuming brilliance."--Stephen King

    "It's hard to exaggerate how well Picoult writes."--Financial Times

    "Picoult writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships."--The Boston Globe

    "Picoult is a master of the craft of storytelling."
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Leaving Time
Leaving Time
A Novel
Jodi Picoult
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