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It’s 1936 when orphaned thirteen-year-old Evalina Toussaint is admitted to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, a mental institution known for its innovative treatments for nervous disorders and addictions. Taken under the wing of the hospital’s most notable patient, Zelda Fitzgerald, Evalina witnesses the cascading events leading up to the tragic fire of 1948 that killed nine women in a locked ward, Zelda among them.

Author Lee Smith has created, through her artful blending of fiction and fact, a mesmerizing novel about a world apart--a time and a place where creativity and passion, theory and medicine, tragedy and transformation, are luminously intertwined. 


Guests on Earth
Average rating
3.8 / 5
Aptly written- does not deliver on
January 11th, 2014
A somewhat surreal account of one (fictional) woman's life at Asheville's Highland Hospital. I heard about this book on NPR and read it on the premise of the subject matter being Zelda Fitzgerald and the hospital fire. That is definitely not what this book is about. But I think if you go into it with no assumptions, you might be able to enjoy the book more than I did.
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1 review
December 8th, 2013
Kobo lost my detailed review, so let sum it up-- I love Smith's books. Saving Grace is my fave. But Guests needed a good editor to help her write something she usually does brilliantly: craft a commensurate ending. She waved the pistol in the first pages, but when she fired it at the end, it was loaded with blanks.
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1 review

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