In a deeply layered psychological narrative, T. Byram Karasu, one of America’s leading professors of psychiatry, illustrates that the age of narcissism has metamorphosed into the more virulent age of sociopathy, where selfishness, greed, and the violation of the rights of others have become fixtures of daily life. Gotham Chronicles tells the gritty story of Mallory, a young woman who offers Rolfing massage therapy to the elite of Manhattan. Gradually drawn into a world of prostitution and illicit drugs, she ...
In a deeply layered psychological narrative, T. Byram Karasu, one of America’s leading professors of psychiatry, illustrates that the age of narcissism has metamorphosed into the more virulent age of sociopathy, where selfishness, greed, and the violation of the rights of others have become fixtures of daily life. Gotham Chronicles tells the gritty story of Mallory, a young woman who offers Rolfing massage therapy to the elite of Manhattan. Gradually drawn into a world of prostitution and illicit drugs, she struggles to write a novel about her life. Her clients include an assistant district attorney, a hedge fund manager, a semiretired real estate tycoon, and a drug-addled college professor. Corruption, disloyalty, deception, arrogance, and treacherous cynicism rule the world of these intertwined lives, where sex, drugs, and excessive money lead to consequences both permanent and tragic. In a deeply psychological story, Karasu shows the age of narcissism has been replaced with a more malignant age of sociopathy. Selfishness, greed, and obsession have become part of everyday life and empathy seems to be a dying emotion. Mental health professionals and anyone interested in our own destructive psychology will find Mallory's story both interesting and revealing.
Gotham Chronicles is a stunningly original, soaring achievement. In a poetic narration, Dr. Karasu forces us to confront what is plaguing our nation. This is an audaciously groundbreaking masterpiece—a haunting biography of America.
It's a slippery slope from narcissism to sociopathy, as T. Byram Karasu shows deftly in his new, completely captivating story that transcends genre. If ever there was a book that you just couldn't put down, this is it. A mirror to culture, with a central character that you come to love like a daughter gone bad. I felt oddly voyeuristic reading this story filled with characters hollowed out by money and power and acting out in empty, aggressive sex.
Otto F. Kernberg
Gotham Chronicles is a profound, moving exploration of the life of a traumatized, deeply troubled young woman suffering from severely disturbed self-experiences and her problematic relations with significant others. The portrait of Mallory, the heroine of this novel, emerges gradually, viewed from both her inner experiences and from the empty, self-indulging and hostile psychosocial environment within which she tries to survive. With an apparently cool and detached, at times ironic, but, au fond, deeply concerned and empathic approach T. Byram Karasu analyzes the dialectic relationship between a severe personality disorder and a harsh and corrupt culture. This compassionate narrative permits the reader to identify fully with the confusion and suffering of a woman with a fragmented mental life, in the context of a cultural environment with significant deterioration and loss of ethical values.
Dr. Glen O. Gabbard
In an era where Enron, Bernie Madoff, and the Wall Street collapse make headlines, there can be little doubt that the culture of narcissism has undergone an evolutionary transformation into the culture of sociopathy. In this gripping new novel, Byram Karasu examines this phenomenon from the inside out, penetrating into the psyches of an assortment of New York characters on the make. The result is chilling and absorbing.
Through the lives of a group of rather unlikable characters, Karasu (psychiatry & behavioral sciences dept., Albert Einstein Coll. of Medicine; The Art of Serenity: The Path to a Joyful Life in the Best and Worst of Times) suggests sociopathy has overtaken narcissism in modern culture. This novel approach to a social problem revolves around a young aspiring writer who supports herself by providing massage therapy to a few elite Manhattan customers. Her background includes abuse and continued exploitation by a parent who favors a sibling. Karasu exhibits a gift for creating believable dialog and graphic detail about an urban lifestyle favoring drugs, sex, and money. He succeeds in showing how spectacularly self-absorbed and sad such lives can be, but the result is a series of vignettes rather than an engaging, cohesive narrative. VERDICT More social commentary than clinically oriented, this book may appeal to mental health professionals and devotees of desperate TV dramas.—Antoinette Brinkman, MLS, Evansville, IN
T. Byram Karasu, M.D., a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, is presently the Silverman Professor and University Chairman of the Deparmtent of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstien College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, and the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Psychotherapy. He is the author or editor of 20 books, including two novels, Of God and Madness and The Gotham Chronicles—The Culture of Sociopathy; a book of poetry, Rags of My Soul; the seminal work, Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders; and two best sellers, The Art of Serenity and The Spirit of Happiness. Dr. Karasu is a scholar, renowned clinician, teacher and lecturer, and the recipient of numerous awards. He lives in New York City.
Renowned throughout the medical community, psychiatrist T. Byram Karasu, M.D. is the Silverman Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Sigmund Freud Award and the APA's Presidential Commendation.
Dr. Karasu has published extensively in professional journals and is the author of psychiatric textbooks such as the seminal Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. He has also written spiritual self-help guides, including the New York Times bestsellers The Art of Serenity and The Spirit of Happiness; and, in 2009, he published Rags of My Soul, a first book of poetry.
Good To Know
Karasu explained in our interview how he likes to unwind: "I like quietness; I seek sanctuary in places protected from the sounds of civilization. I like to sit still in my garden -- I am a good gardener, hard labor part included -- and I listen to nature, the ultimate teacher. There for hours I do nothing, waiting, not even waiting, just being. At times I touch a flower, I kiss its petals; I try to get very close to bumblebees and butterflies -- a few times their wings hit my eyelashes. In the garden I commune with the birds, insects and vegetation. I feel one with them and whole."
"My other sanctuaries are writing and reading where I converse with myself and with other authors. Reading a minimum of 200 books to writing 1 is a reasonable proportion. Those who write more than they read, tend to rediscover the wheel -- a lower quality of that. Other times I spend time with friends, my alternative home."