All posts tagged: family dysfunction

Claire Phillips talks about A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW, her mother’s struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, how sharing your darkest moment might bring light and hope to yourself–and others, more

By Leslie Lindsay  What if your mother were blisteringly intelligent and ambitious and yet…she devolved into a stew of paranoia, delusions, and more? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health & Motherhood This unflinching, insightful, and troubled memoir A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW: Chronicles of My Mother and Schizophrenia by Claire Phillips is ambitiously and intelligently told. Claire’s mother, Joy is an Oxford-trained lawyer diagnosed in midlife with paranoid schizophrenia. Here, the author takes a feminist lens and tells her story, recollecting her childhood–and her mother’s–an elegant, non-linear manner, arriving at the dark, and inevitable conclusion. We get a striking glimpse of Claire’s mother from her younger days, the stress of being one of the only practicing female attorneys at time when it was primarily men, her father’s aspirations and career as a scientist, more. Phillips leads us through dark hallways where portraits of delusional thinking and paranoia hang, like a specter. But it’s more than that: A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW touches on the broken mental health system, adult children as a caregivers, mental health homelessness, shame, and the universal worry: …

A Blazing Portrait of a highly enmeshed sibling relationship, a crumbling English house, a despondent writer-illustrator mother and a slippery twist in Daisy Johnson’s SISTERS

By Leslie Lindsay  A taut, twisty, mind-bending read that is so superbly written, so lyrical and tragic.  ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ Spotlight: Siblings A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR —VULTURE “Daisy Johnson is the demon offspring of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King.” —The Observer (London)“Builds a gothic plot to an artful and shocking climax.” —The New York Times“Ends with a magnificent twist.” —The Boston Globe From a Booker Prize finalist and international literary star: a blazing portrait of one darkly riveting sibling relationship, from the inside out. Something unspeakable and unbearable happened between sisters July and September, just 10 months apart and named for their birth months. What presents as not-quite a thriller, not quite-a novel, not-quite horror or prose poetry, it is but all of those things, and that’s what makes SISTERS (Riverhead, August 2020) such a slippery one to pin down. Reading this story is strange and fantastical, a bit like a …

Alexandra Burt begins Shadow Garden as a ‘thought experiement’: Does wealth and privilege sway moral corruption? Do we risk more if there’s more to lose, plus gorgeous prose, houses and homes, plus memory and tragedy

By Leslie Lindsay  A dark, haunting and atmospheric read about memory and twisted family dynamics set amidst luxury. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ I’ve read all of Alexandra Burt’s stunning books and when SHADOW GARDEN (Berkley, July 2020) came to my attention, I knew I had to get my hands on it. This is such a haunting read that feels claustrophobic and uncomfortable at every turn. Burt is absolutely gifted at atmospheric prose, psychological detail, gorgeous turns-of-phrase, and generally giving readers dark intrigue. Here’s the quick take: Donna Pryor has lived a life of luxury, being a ‘lady of leisure.’ Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon. Her only daughter is grown, she has a housekeeper who caters to every whim. She lives in a gated complex, her home is beautifully decorated. But. Something’s off. Donna is recovering from a recent hip surgery. Her memory isn’t what it used to be. Her daughter never calls. She and her husband are estranged. Her only companions seem to be the caregivers and housekeepers who manage her luxury neighborhood. What’s going on? Immediately, I …