Cover image for Saving Elijah
Saving Elijah
Dorf, Fran.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2000]

Physical Description:
389 pages ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A haunting tale of a mother seduced into an unearthly bargain.Psychologist Dinah Rosenberg Galligan, securely married to her college sweetheart, Sam, is hurled into a waking nightmare when their youngest child, Elijah, falls into a life-threatening coma.Amid the technological marvels of a major medical center Dinah meets the mysterious Seth Lucien. A vain, sexy spirit with a surprising connection to Dinah's troubled past, and a master seducer's awareness of her secret fears and regrets, Seth haunts the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where Elijah dreamlessly sleeps. Claiming to know the future, he tempts Dinah with a simple deal: her son's life for the use of her body. What parent wouldn't willingly accept the trade?

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When Dinah Galligan's youngest son, Elijah, slips into a coma, doctors are not optimistic about his recovery. As she paces the pediatric intensive care unit, she meets a repulsive, seductive ghost who claims he can heal Elijah. The price is her soul. The spirit wants to be with her always, to relive life through her physical body. As Dinah reflects on her own life and how it led to this particular moment and question, she realizes that the demon is a manifestation of her first lover--a cruel youth who was killed in an accident toward the end of their abusive relationship. A mother's love for her child often transcends everything, though, and, despite the smell of pure evil wafting from the demon, she accepts. The deal is made. Elijah recovers, and Dinah immediately begins a downward spiral into despair, chaos, and the end of her loving marriage. Dorf captures Dinah's emotional breakdown with horrifying reality. This suspenseful novel is unpredictable and exciting. --Ellie Barta-Moran

Publisher's Weekly Review

Taking a chance with a heart-wrenching subject--a dying child, and a mother's guilt and desperation--Dorf (Flight) has produced a stunning third novel that crackles with suspense, dark humor, and provocative questions. Dorf, who lost her own son six years ago, explores the depths of maternal desperation in psychologist Dinah Galligan, whose five-year-old, Elijah--born with cognitive and developmental difficulties as well as myriad physical ailments--is in a coma in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. In the hospital corridor, Dinah encounters a wise-cracking, guitar-playing ghost, who, she realizes later, is the spectral remnant of her first lover, Seth Lucien. Dorf draws Seth with an irreverent pen: his bloody, dirty, phantasmal body has the stench of decomposition; his mouth is dirty as well, slinging insults, mocking Dinah and blaspheming against God. In the grip of Seth's pervasive presence--he appears at unexpected moments in her home, her office and in her dreams--and as a result of the hidden secrets he forces her to face, Dinah's life falls apart. Her practice folds; her teenage children, Alex and Kate, recoil in shock; and her exasperated husband temporarily flees. Dorf forcefully validates Dinah's choice, for--because of the Faustian bargain she makes with the demon--Elijah emerges from the coma; and not only that, he thrives, newly possessed of prophetic powers. Whether Seth is an actual presence or merely a product of Dinah's imagined fears and guilty conscience, she is forced to face her inner demons, real and imagined, finding redemption with the help of her angelic child, a sympathetic rabbi and her steadfast husband. With sharply emotional description and unerring domestic dialogue, Dorf has created a compelling page-turner that turns a family tragedy into a spellbinding novel of psychological suspense, and meditates, with honesty and insight, on the nature of parental love and responsibility. Agent, Joni Evans. Rights sold in Germany; film rights optioned by Sydney Pollack. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved