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Fiction Literary

Out of Mind

by (author) David Bergen

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Literary, 21st Century, Family Life
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price

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Winner, McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award
One of 49th Shelf's Books of the Year

In Out of Mind, David Bergen delves into the psyche of Lucille Black, mother, grandmother, lover, psychiatrist, and analyst of self, who first appeared in Bergen’s bestselling novel The Matter with Morris. Although adept at probing the lives of others, Lucille has become untethered, caught between duty and desire, between the demands of family and her own longing.

Her ex-husband Morris betrays her by publishing a memoir about the aftermath of their son Martin’s death in Afghanistan. She travels to Thailand to attempt to extricate her youngest daughter from the clutches of an apparent cult leader. And she is invited to the south of France to attend the marriage of a man whom she rejected a year earlier. Negotiating with herself about her altered role in the lives of her family and friends, Lucille circles the globe — and herself.

In this brilliant and subtle evocation of vulnerability and loss, Bergen traces one woman’s quest to reform her identity, reminding us that the unexpected is always lying in wait.

About the author

DAVID BERGEN is an award-winning author of seven previous novels and a collection of short stories. A Year Of Lesser was a New York Times Notable Book, and The Case of Lena S. was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Fiction. In 2005, Bergen won the Giller Prize for The Time in Between. His sixth novel, The Matter With Morris, was shortlisted for the Giller Prize in 2010, won the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award and the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The Age Of Hope was a #1 bestseller and a finalist for Canada Reads 2013. Bergen lives with his family in Winnipeg.

David Bergen's profile page


  • Winner, McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award
  • Winner, On CBC Books' list of 65 Canadian works of fiction to watch for in fall 2021
  • Unknown, One of <i>49th Shelf</i>'s Books of the Year

Editorial Reviews

“Bergen’s characteristic precision and insight bring Lucille to life in all her complexity and vulnerability.”

<i>Prairie Books Now</i>

“Bergen makes the story work, slim and precise to as it is, by tapping into universal truths that resonate with readers. ... It's what makes up a life.”

<i>Buried in Print</i>

“There might be no enduring salvation for Lucille, but for Bergen’s readers there is something more valuable: a sustained encounter, on every page, with a character who lives as if she were among us. And she is.”

<i>Winnipeg Free Press</i>

“David Bergen’s language is so pure and he listens so attentively to his characters that reading his work always stills me, like a meditation. In Out of Mind, Lucille has come to the end of her ways of knowing herself. But what does Lucille want? Bergen asks, and with consummate respect for her autonomy, he follows her on a journey towards the freedom that comes in knowing your own desires.”

Joan Thomas, author of <i>Five Wives</i>

“Bergen’s power as a writer pulls like an undertow. Out of Mind is a house of mirrors that reflects back, at every awful and astounding angle, the complete emotional taxonomy of living. This is uncanny, discerning, merciful algebra on what love takes, and where it leaves us.”

Paige Cooper, author of <i>Zolitude</i>

“Always incisive, richly evocative of our human experience, the work of David Bergen illuminates and exhilarates. His is a vital literary voice.”

Claire Messud, author of <i>The Burning Girl</i>

“A beautiful piece of writing — delicate, melancholic, searching. Years after the violent death of her son, the psychiatrist Lucille remains stuck, watching as her ex-husband starts a new family and as her grown daughters drift away. Does Lucille have a place anymore? She travels to Thailand and to France, seeking connections, still yearning. She refuses to fade away; nor will her grief. David Bergen is an exceptional writer, harnessing his prose, its restraint a sign of its great power.”

Tom Rachman, author of <i>The Italian Teacher</i>

“David Bergen's new novel, Out of Mind, finds the Giller winner at the top of his game.”

<i>Atlantic Books Today</i>

“Lucille’s story and character reflect the realities of life, reassuring us that we are not alone in our joy or in our pain. Her strength and her struggle are so quintessentially human that they act as an important reminder that our vulnerability and our perseverance is not for naught.”

<i>The Manitoban</i>

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