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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In his lucid and vibrant first novel, Australian poet Anthony Lawrence brings readers into the life and mind of James Malloy, a young poet suffering with schizophrenia. But before James realizes his gift for poetry, the jumbled words surging through his mind serve only as a mystery and a nuisance, making his world a confining tangle of lights, sounds, poetic mutterings, and fears.
When James meets Stephanie, a local shopgirl, he finds a woman with nerves as raw as his own. She is the first to recognize both his disorder and his poetic affinity, and she gently encourages him to explore his condition through journaling and seeking help. But his relationship with Stephanie is brief, and James is left to finish his project of self-discovery alone.
James's "illness" takes its toll on his family, straining already tense relationships. But James experiences some of the most carefree, stable days of his life in the company of Tina, a girl from a farm in rural Australia; this affair, however, is also cut tragically short.
After an unmemorable stint in a mental hospital, James leaves Australia and travels to Ireland, where he finds a group of understanding friends and discovers Sarah, a fiery musician whose wounded soul is quickly bound to his. For James's struggle is not so much one of overcoming schizophrenia but of facing his fears of the unknown: hurting others, love and loss, and change. Only when he is able to confront his fears openly and honestly is he finally able to accept himself and find happiness. A noteworthy fiction debut by a talent from Down Under. (Summer 2002 Selection)