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Publisher's Summary

"Alexis Schaitkin's splashy debut novel, Saint X, is an audiobook lover's dream.... Queue this one up for a murderous, dreamy delight." (Paste)

Hailed as a "marvel of a book" and "brilliant and unflinching", Alexis Schaitkin’s stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another.

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s 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. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth - not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of 18 at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

For fans of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that culminates in an emotionally powerful ending.

Praise for Saint X:

"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 novel. Brilliant and unflinching, Saint X marks the debut of a stunningly gifted writer. I simply couldn’t stop reading." (Chang-Rae Lee, author of On Such a Full Sea)

“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)

©2019 Alexis Schaitkin (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Editor's Pick

What happened to Alison?
"As the child of Caribbean immigrants, I’ve always been intrigued by the notion that my family lives in places that many people only think of as vacation destinations. The often uneasy relationship between the working-class residents and the wealthy tourists who visit the islands is at the heart of Alexis Schaitkin’s haunting debut. Eighteen years after her sister turned up dead during a family vacation on fictional Saint X, Claire Thomas runs into one of the local men accused of Alison’s murder. The multi-cast narration features not only the three central characters, but also guests at the hotel, the girl who found the body, students and teachers and ex-boyfriends who knew Alison, and even the actress who played Alison in a TV movie. Every voice rings true to unspool this mystery, with an ending no one will see coming."
Margaret H., Audible Editor

What listeners say about Saint X

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I’d rather be alone with my thoughts...

I’ve given this book over five hours and oh how I wish I had that time back. Seven hours left and I’m out. Not only is there no mystery as your outright told who did wary on, there is so much jumping around and seemingly useless information given that I can’t force myself to pay attention. The loooooooong list of narrators should have been my first clue. I’ve listened to hundreds of books over the years and never had more than a couple narrators. This production is bizarre. Skip it and save your credit.

10 people found this helpful

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Why do the best books of the year always come out so early? Now I have nothing to look forward to...

STUNNING. Is it weird that I’m proud of Alexis Schaitken for writing such a great novel? A gorgeous trashy beach read that’s neither trashy or for the beach. Page turning, tear-inducing, poignant and bold af. Who knew a true crime novel about a juicy 1990s Lifetime movie of the week fable would result in profound deliberation about racism, classism, family, love, honesty and fear? I loved this book, highly recommend, and the narration is a SYMPHONY OF PERFECTION.

9 people found this helpful

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Saint X

This book was so scattered. I couldn’t keep the characters straight. After trying to read it for some time, I was lost. Margaret Bates

7 people found this helpful

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Poor execution

I think the author had a good basis for this story (loosely based on the Natalie Holloway disappearance) but the execution was very disjointed. The use of multiple POVs added nothing to the story, and, in the end, the reader knows what didn't happen, but not what did. Very frustrating. I liked the initial set-up of the story, the discriptions of Saint X island and the group of vacationers and employees who were all ultimately affected by Alison's death. But the impact of that loss got lost in all the dissembling by Claire/Emily and the rambling narrative. A trim of about 100 pages would have made this a better book. The narrators were fine, but quite a few had very little to add to the story ( see excessive use of POV ).

4 people found this helpful

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A disappointing novel

Lots of intricate and often distracting descriptions with some unlikely metaphors. Somewhat engaging characters, but overall, slow-moving, with a flat ending.

3 people found this helpful

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It’s just SO good!

Love loved this book so much, highly recommend to everyone. You won’t regret the purchase! I need to form my own book club just to discuss and unpack everything! Wow!

3 people found this helpful

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This was not what I expected

The book started out good but then lost its momentum. There was a lot of information about the island & not enough answers about the death. To be honest I almost gave up 1/2 way through. I would not give it a thumbs up. to many questions left un answered.

3 people found this helpful

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compelling but uninspiring

Some great writing, but lacking in likeable characters... making it ultimately disappointing for me.

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interesting story

the ending was a slight let down. but overall a good read. the plot was entertaining until...

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Disappointing

I was excited by the reviews of this book, which promised insightful consideration of race and class alongside a more nuanced story of a girl gone missing than we usually get. It was definitely trying to be different but I ultimately found the book really disappointing and plodding and fast forwarded through most of the last chapters. The author just did not build the characters or the plot robustly enough even as she used wayyyyy too many words for repetitive descriptions of the minutiae of their lives. I was also honestly pretty disappointed by the authors rambling and navel gazing reflections on privilege, which reminded me of books like the Help that ultimately are really only interested in their white characters. Her descriptions of the black characters rang falsely to me and ultimately were left with a big pile of white guilt but no road forward. Wish I had skipped it!

2 people found this helpful