Dysfunctional families relationships and other mental illnesses The novel is told from the viewpoint of Charlie Weir From the beginning we find out about his mother who in her latter years drank and smoked heavily was depressed and lived in sualor His father was only a periodic presence in his childhood and his mother and father had a violent relationship Charlie has an argumentative relationship with his older brother Walter Both Charlie and Walter seem to thrive on their arguments and their dad would often encourage them to argue and fight when they were children Walt and I could get angry at each other in seconds It alarmed others It worried Agnes my wife to whom I was still married at the time when she first saw it happen that two otherwise civilized men could so uickly become so abusiveAt the point the book starts Charlie has been separated from his wife Agnes for seven years though he is still in touch with her and his daughter Cassie Agnes is now married to Leon a fireman but Charlie lives alone Oh and Charlie is a psychiatrist who specialises in trauma especially trauma experienced by war veterans As the book is set in late 1970s New York there are a lot of Vietnam veterans that need help The story dips into the past freuently and we discover that he met Agnes through her brother Danny who was one of Charlie s Vietnam patients Danny rarely talked about what happened in Vietnam but it is hinted that the failure of Charlie s and Agnes s marriage had something to do with Danny s treatment Previous McGrath books that I ve read have had a gothic andor horror feel to them but Trauma is told in a short punchy style reminiscent of an old US detective story There is also a lot of smoking drinking and sleeping around which all adds to the seedy feeling of the "Book Which Is The "which is the that McGrath is presumably after All the characters are in some way damaged and yet none including Charlie seem to be enthusiastic about getting professional help So we view these characters at times when they re at their lowest McGrath handles this excellently as they could so easily become stereotypes but each character is believeable if not particularly likeable So the main thrust of the story is to see whether Charlie can resolve the issues concerning Danny and his marriage breakup as well as his relationships with his mother and brother As the book progresses there are enough revelations of everyone s past history to keep the novel ticking over at uite a speed In the blurb on the back the book was regularly described as a thriller and whilst I can see that it could be described as such I prefer Hilary Mantel s description of it The novel works beautifully as a sober tightly written character study When reading novels I always pick out and save uotations Trauma had several good
One Liners But I Especially liners but I especially this longer one I often wondered how it would be to tramp off into the mountains and keep going until I was exhausted then simply sink into the snow and fall asleep Then the wolves could have me To want to die in the forest and be eaten by wolves another marker of incipient madnessI couldn t help but look at some other reviews before reading the book and was a little surprised to see many bad reviews The criticisms were mainly that the characters were unlikeable they drank and smoked constantly the ending was rushed and some thought the ending was predictable Well I didn t think the ending was rushed it was ust that
THE NOVEL DID PICK UP SPEED novel did pick up speed little near the climax At least it wasn t one of those enigmatic work it out for yourself type of endings I thought the ending was uite natural and believeable McGrath wasn t trying to concoct an ending that was overly clever ust to confound those readers that pride themselves on working it out Now I ll have to sort out what my next McGrath book will be i was hesitant to read this because it got the worst reviews ever but no one can keep me from patrick mcgrath not even the new york times book review that being said it is way better than the press for it and a lot better than port mungo it doesn t have the same depth as the grotesue or spider but its still a great dark tale from one of my favorite storytellers so in this review i will simply mention other books by the author and hope that this is somehow helpful be helped. Elf But as he realizes that she has become of a patient than a lover events conspire to send him reeling toward the abyss Addictive and enthralling Trauma is Patrick McGrath's most riveting work to date From the Trade Paperback editi. ,
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This is a novel about the early recognition and treatment of post traumatic stress disorder The plusesEasyfast readingDecent character development The minuses Unnecessarily asks uestions than it answers Rushes to disorder The plusesEasyfast readingDecent character development The minuses Unnecessarily asks uestions than it answers Rushes to without enough depth The sense that I got reading this book was the the author had some great ideas but was rushed to publish before he could fully develop all of the elements of the book to make it great It found this book to be fairly entertaining but by no means a must read I liked this book a lot The writing is direct and clear with cool time shifts that lay out the story It "is a fast read but don t go "a fast read but don t go fast or you miss sentences like this one about insomnia which I occasionally have strong bouts ofOnce woken I do not find it easy to get back to sleep In the darkness in the relative silence of the city late at night anxiety steals in like a wolf Glimpsing weakness of spirit it circles for the k This is the first time I came across a book from this author a friend of mine lent it to me a while ago and I finally got around to reading it While it is a very short easy book to read I didn t care much for the plot or for that matter any of the characters Charlie Weir is a psychiatrist that specializes in trauma From accidentally killing someone to post traumatic stress due to war experiences or sexual abuse as children the array of patients is entirely made out of people traumatized by something And while Charlie has had uite a traumatic life of his own like his extremely dysfunctional upbringing with an alcoholic and depressive mother with a blatant preference for his brother Walter he seems to have reasonably overcome this chapter of his life At this point everything indicates that the only thing disturbing Charlie s psyche is the death of his brother in law and conseuent outcome in his marriage to Agnes We find ourselves being told this story by someone we think is reliable as a narrator The storytelling ability of the author is uite remarkable The story flows really well even in the least eventful parts of the plot and the writing is fluid and achieved The character development however except for Charlie who we get to know uite well leaves a bit to be desired We don t know much about anyone else and especially in the case of Agnes I think it would ve been nice to have some character development By the end we realize Charlie has some trauma of his own deeply ingrained in his brain Being a psychologist and so self absorbed he failed to notice the symptoms in himself That definitely didn t seem right to me especially him being a specialist in trauma He tries to diagnose everyone around him from his brother in law to Nora and blatantly fails to do so with himself Other than that the ending felt incredibly rushed It came and went and you don t even have enough time to absorb what has happened In my opinion it could have been really really good but fell short of its potential I had high hopes for this not too suspenseful novel After all I had heard great things about one of his other books Asylum and I had read a positive review of this novel The reviews referred to his unreliable narrators which really appealed to meThe narrator Charlie Weir is a psychiatrist who specializes in victims of trauma Traumas treated by him include rape war and even the trauma of killing someone accidentally with one s car Two of his notable patients include the aforementioned driver and his late brother in law who served in Vietnam and eventually killed himselfAs we learn about Charlie we discover that his childhood was not great no surprise that he is engaged in heavy duty sibling rivalry with his older brother Walt an artist also no surprise and that he s not great at relationships with women What we don t learn is what Charlie s own experience with trauma is And when we do learn about his trauma experiences we don t care Lame is a good word for what I thought of McGrath s attempt at an unreliable narrator Really lame Nonetheless I enjoyed this slim novel The psychiatrist as narrator was interesting and McGrath created a certain level of suspense which kept me reading I ust wasn t impressed with the ending Another author I ve decided to check out based on the impression from his film adaptations This one to greater results than Walter Kirn McGrath Charlie Weir is a man who tackles other people's demons for a living He has seen every kind of trauma during his years as a psychiatrist in New YorkYet he hasn't found a way of resolving his own conflicts particularly the fatal mista. S certainly a talented author his narrative is great the rest I m not so sure about Following the maxim of psychiatrists being crazier than those they try to help Charlie Weir is a psychiatrist adrift He specializes in of course trauma and yet is so profoundly haunted by his own traumatic childhood that he finds himself unable to sustain any sort of loving relationship for a duration An interesting character certainly but he and "the entire book is so lost in constant analysis that the effect is distancing and occasionally tiresome And yes according to "entire book is so lost in constant analysis that the effect is distancing and occasionally tiresome And yes according to the unexamined life isn t worth living but I m not uite sure examining it to such extent is a great idea either I suppose your opinion of psychiatry is integral to your enjoyment of this book Another thing is that McGrath s writing is often referred to as gothic Well unless the definition has changed and uick internet search shows that it hasn t with exception of a particularly atmospheric asylum setting towards the end this really isn t gothic at all Didn t matter to me but might to some It s dark but of a distinctly different penumbral variety A specific brand of bleak sanity uestioning meditation on the subtleties of madness Compelling enough and uick enough of a read to get through in one afternoon but not uite engaging enough to pun alert go crazy over Jeez The writing is outstanding without ever standing out McGrath is a pro And I can ust imagine the wicked glee McGrath took in composing this ruthlessly lightless story Charlie Weir is a shrink specializing in trauma who of course is suffering from his own trauma Which the trauma is pretty harrowing It s a very old New York story and the city rarely improves this guy s mood is pretty harrowing It s a very old New York story and the city rarely improves this guy s mood it on a stormy afternoon it s not that long with a glass of wine and the bullets safely removed from your gun beforehand The story of a psychiatrist with plenty of psychiatric problems of his own here McGrath once again delves into uestions of pathology and all the dark little crunchy bits at the back of a person s head Told from the perspective of the main character it is a record of the events following the death of his mother which leads to him reconnecting with his ex wife now re married dating a woman who ought to be a patient and dealing with his free spirited artist brother His specialty is trauma recovery though it becomes apparent that he is the one who needs to face his past The tale is spun brilliantly reminding me a bit of Benjamin Black s Christine Falls a sort of mystery without action The psychiatrist simply through relationships and the changes in those dynamics uncovers the truth about the events of his childhood and realizes how they defined his entire life McGrath does a great ob of getting all of the twisted ugly potential that love and relationships offer into his prose likely made easier by the fact that his main character has been trained to recognize these pathologies and patterns The only problem I really had with this book was that the pacing was a bit odd It skips back and forth between the present and past and the developmentrevelation comes rather uickly and all at the end I suppose this mirrors how memory works but it felt a bit strange at times while reading it Overall though highly recommended Ye gods how the mighty are fallen McGrath has written some excellent broody downright strange Gothic novels but this one is a sucker punch to every astute reader s sensibilities None of the characters are likeable and none of the situations are especially compelling The main character is a self absorbed pig which makes me wonder why any woman would sleep with him And why is everybody smoking in the novel You d think it was a movie from the 1950s instead of a recent read Read Spider The Grotesue Asylum or even Dr Haggard s Disease before picking up this poo I like books that have a first sentence that pulls the reader in Patrick McGrath does "this really well Paul Auster is another author that excels with these killer opening lines "really well Paul Auster is another author that excels with these killer opening lines opens with these linesMy mother s first depressive illness occurred when I was seven years old and I felt it was my fault I felt I should have prevented it This was about a year before my father left usAnd so along with the title we are left in no doubt that we are about to read a story about depression suicide. Ke that caused his wife and daughter to leave him condemning him to corrosive loneliness and restless angerYears later he meets a beautiful but damaged woman who promises to restore his dwindling faith in both his profession and hims.