The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

About the book

There is no cure for being alive.’ Thus speaks Dr David McBride, a psychiatrist for whom death exerts an unusual draw. As a young child he witnessed the death of his six-year-old brother and it is this traumatic event which has shaped his own personality and choice of profession. One day a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is admitted to his hospital. She is unusually reticent and it is not until he recalls a painting by Caravaggio that she finally yields up her story.

We learn of Elizabeth Cruikshank’s dereliction of trust, and the man she has lost, through David’s narration. As her story unfolds, David finds his own life being touched by a sense that the ‘other side’ of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him, too.

Set partly in Rome, ‘The Other Side of You’ explores the theme of redemption through love and art, which has become a hallmark of Salley Vickers’s acclaimed work, which includes ‘Mr Golightly’s Holiday’ and ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’.

Reviewed by The Pageturners

“Beautifully written, this novel tells the story of a psychiatrist and a female patient, a failed suicide.The author has worked as a psychoanalyst and uses this story to explore several themes – e.g. life, love and reality so plenty of scope for some philosophical discussions! Paintings bt Caravaggio and the city of Rome are featured and add interest to the narrative. Our group of five were divided in our judgement; it would seem that this book needs careful, thoughtful reading or re-reading to appreciate it fully. The reader who suggested it has read it a few times already!”

star rating ***

 

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Mr Golightly’s Holiday by Salley Vickers

About the book

Many years ago Mr Golightly wrote a work of dramatic fiction which grew to be an international best-seller. But his reputation is on the decline and he finds himself out of touch with the modern world.

He decides to take a holiday and comes to the ancient village of Great Calne, hoping to use the opportunity to bring his great work up to date. But he soon finds that events take over his plans and that the themes he has written on are being strangely replicated in the lives of the villagers he is staying among.

He meets Ellen Thomas, a reclusive artist, young Johnny Spence, an absconding school boy, and the tough-minded Paula who works at the local pub. As he comes to know his neighbours better, Mr Golightly begins to examine his attitude to love, and to ponder the terrible catastrophe of his son’s death. And as the drama unfolds we begin to learn the true and extraordinary identity of Mr Golightly and the nature of the secret sorrow which haunts him links him to his new friends.

Mysterious, light of touch, witty and profound, ‘Mr Golightly’s Holiday’ confirms Salley Vickers’s reputation as one of our most original and engaging novelists.

Reviewed by Women Who Read

“Can be read on different levels. A mixed reception from our group. Some of us felt that if we re-read it we’d pick up on more of the hints and points

star rating ** ½

 

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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

About the book

My brother, Shiva, and I came into the world in the late afternoon of the twentieth of September in the year of grace 1954. We took our first breaths in the thick air of Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia.  Bound by birth, we were driven apart by bitter betrayal. No surgeon can heal the would that divides two brothers. Where silk and steel fail, story must succeed.  To begin at the beginning…

Reviewed by Parish Pump

Everyone in the group absolutely loved this book. It was a real adventure, very intelligently written and well researched. Although a long book, it was well worth the read and no-one wanted to miss any part of it.”

star rating ****

 

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