The man who walked away: a novel by Maud Casey.
This novel seemed to urge me to pay attention to its details, while another part of me kept saying, “Come on get on with the story.” Yet I read on, as Casey keeps merging one sentence into another without any sense of direction like Albert as he wonders in his fugue state. For example “Although, these sounds will create a new sound. Albert will listen to the new sound as the nurse leads him down a long hall…and this will become part of the music too.” Casey seems to use words and language to create the interplay between transference and counter transference between patient and doctor, or Albert and those who come in contact with him. Somehow the misery of Albert’s illness, or the hysterical patient under the probing of the Great doctor often gets lost in the beauty of her language…the soft turning of phrase.
In my impatient to want to get on with the plot it was not until about a quarter of way into the book that I started to get her very subtle descriptions of Albert’s public displays and playing with his “Oh! Oh! My beautiful instrument!” Casey never seems to want to go straight at something like calling a spade a spade when she can approach it sideways.
Her description of insane asylums is a little too idealistic from what I have learned about such places at the end of the 19th century, and to quote one NY Times article “Many of private home for the mentally ill in New York have devolved into places of misery and neglect, just like the psychiatric institutions before them.”
I’ve read the novel first so I’m commenting on that. And will read the other assignment before class so I cannot comment on that.