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With The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult offers her most powerful chronicle yet as she explores the unbreakable bond between parent and child, and questions whether you can reinvent yourself in the course of a lifetime -- or if your mistakes are carried forever.
416 pages, Paperback
First published March 7, 2006
Laura Stone knew exactly how to go to Hell.
She could map out its geography on napkins at departmental cocktail parties; she was able to recite all of the passageways and rivers and folds by heart; she was on a first-name basis with its sinners. As one of the top Dante scholars in the country, she taught a course in this very subject; and had done so every year since being tenured at Monroe College. English 364 was also listed in the course handbook as Burn Baby Burn (or: What the Devil is the Inferno?), and was one of the most popular courses on campus in the second trimester even though Dante’s epic poem – the Divine Comedy – wasn’t funny at all.
Like her husband Daniel’s artwork, which was neither comic nor a book, the Inferno covered every genre of pop culture: romance, horror, mystery, crime. And like all of the best stories, it had at its center an ordinary, everyday hero who simply didn’t know how he’d ever become one.
It was that she truly believed that you could be fourteen when you learned how love could change the speed your blood ran through you, how it made your dreams in kaleidoscope color. It was that Trixie knew she couldn’t have loved Jason this hard if he hadn’t loved her that way too.
Parents didn't take their baby trolling the streets after midnight. They didn't live out of the back of a car. They couldn't buy formula and cereal and clothes with happenstance cash that dribbled in from sketches done here and there. Although Daniel could currently pull Laura like a tide to the moon, she couldn't imagine them together ten years from now. She was forced to consider the startling fact that the love of her life might not actually be someone with whom she could spend a lifetime.
At 85 degrees [body temperature], those freezing to death, in a strange, anguished paroxysm, often rip off their clothes. This phenomenon, known as paradoxical undressing, is common enough that urban hypothermia victims are sometimes initially diagnosed as victims of sexual assault. Though researchers are uncertain of the cause, the most logical explanation is that shortly before loss of consciousness, the constricted blood vessels near the body's surface suddenly dilate and produce a sensation of extreme heat against the skin.