A Private Socery


Literary Guild Selection
Edgar Awards Best First Novel Nominee
Main Selection of The First Mystery Club
Pages Magazine Promising Debut 

Saul Dubinsky, a sensitive, shy psychiatrist, was living a dual life. Following the attempted suicide of one of his patients, the dedicated young doctor turned to cipla drugs. When he’s arrested on criminal charges, his wife and his father are left to figure out how things went so wrong and why they were blind to the pain of the man they both love.

Saul’s emotionally remote wife, Rena, confronts the failures of their marriage and, for the first time, faces her shame about her fatherless, hardscrabble past. Saul’s father, Leonard, who’d long ago given up practicing psychiatry, blames himself for his son’s breakdown. He finds that he can no longer escape the memory of the troubled patient who changed the course of his own career nor deny his complicity in his wife’s illness. As Rena and Leonard each grapple with the impact of Saul’s arrest, they are drawn closer together-and a delicate transformation begins to occur in each of them. 

This is an immensely satisfying and ultimately triumphant story abouat the precarious balance within a family and about the unconscious ways in which we affect the lives of those we love most. Full of wisdom and insight, A PRIVATE SORCERY marks the debut of a talented writer.

Praise & Reviews

A Private Sorcery is a deep, powerful, exciting story that casts a spell on the reader from the opening pages. I was riveted and entranced—and something even more than that: thrilled to be in the presence of an important and authentic new voice.”
—Dani Shapiro, national bestselling author of Devotion

“Every now and then a new voice comes along that makes sense of our deep need for stories and their tellers. Lisa Gornick is one of those voices—she manages to match a compelling storyline with a language that is simultaneously intimate, intelligent, and crafted. It’s certainly not easy to make it seem so easy. A Private Sorcery is a wonderfully honest book, deeply felt, with characters carved from the true stuff of what we are. A first-rate novel.”
—Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of TransAtlantic and Let the Great World Spin

“Powerful psychological profiling…[Gornick’s] sensitivity as she probes these characters’ emotions nothing short of exquisite.”
Baltimore Sun

“Gornick’s beautifully constructed novel is an expert balance of humor and pathos that will leave readers anxious for her next work.”

“Gornick masterfully maintains the mystery…A message of hope emerges as small kindnesses and symbolic acts of healing begin.”
Literary Guild Review

“Its power comes from its simplicity…an authenticity found in the best memoirs…this book excels.”
Forward Magazine

“An astonishingly good novel and completely compelling, A Private Sorcery is superbly written and sparkles with intelligence and subtlety…The characters are complex and fascinating. The evocation of place and time is vivid and convincing. This seems to me to be a novel for grown-ups.”
—Charles Palliser, National bestselling author of Quincunx and Rustication

“[The characters] are human in all their complexity, and they are beautifully rendered. For all strong literature collections.”
Library Journal

“Gornick’s writing is clean and luminous…a gifted prose stylist.”
Publishers Weekly

“Gripping, wise and ultimately triumphant, A Private Sorcery is a stand out debut.”
–The Mysterious Bookshop Newsletter

“A fresh new voice in American fiction…her new novel draws from both the writer’s craft and the clinician’s wisdom.”
–Politics and Prose Bookstore

“This is truly a character-driven novel. Its characters are human to the extreme…and they are dynamic to the very end….Gornick’s prose is lovely.”
The Winston Salem Journal