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Chopin in the Attic Hardcover – October 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Silverberry Press (October 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984360891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984360895
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,702,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Belle O'Shane has many gifts, some of them dangerous. She is passionately religious, passionately musical, passionately sexual. Chopin in the Attic is a journal of her eighteenth year, and it is a dazzling spiral of all three of her passions. A thrilling book." -- John Casey, author of National Book Award winner Spartina

"Elisabeth Bell Carroll's fascinating story of TLE reveals the depth and complexity of this brain disorder. Chopin in the Attic offers an insider's view of a disorder on the cutting edge of our understanding of the brain and mind." --Eve LaPlante, author of Seized: Temporal Lobe Epilepsy as a Medical, Historical, and Artistic Phenomenon

"Embedded in Chopin in the Attic is a hauntingly beautiful tale. Descriptions of Belle's subjective experiences are unique and occasionally approach brilliant. Also, I had the rare chance of reading how the effects of TLE feel to a young, beautiful and reverent woman." --Henry Marcucella, Ph.D., Boston University Program in Neuroscience

"Elisabeth Bell Carroll understands passion in various guises: mystical, sexual, moral and -- impressively -- intellectual. With the rigour and clarity of a Teresa or an Ignatius, Belle charts the journey of a soul driven by its deepest longings." --Russell Westkirk, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)

"Chopin in the Attic is a literary achievement of considerable substance. It's unlike anything I've read, though in its freshness of voice and singularity of vision it reminds me of Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children."  --David Huddle, author of The Story of a Million Years and La Tour Dreams of the Wolf Girl

About the Author

Elisabeth Bell Carroll is the granddaughter of a master plumber and poet who left Ireland for Boston in the early 1900s, and who settled in the upper eastside of South Boston. Elisabeth, who has lived with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) since childhood, spent many summers on Martha's Vineyard.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gilbert A. Paradis on November 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Ordinary experiences become extraordinary through the hallucinary vision of a girl suffering from undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy. In her surreal world God can walk the Earth and fall in passionate love, and does. Elizabeth Bell Carroll tells her story with wit, charm and impeccable style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kitty Johnson on June 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Like Gaul(!), the greatness of Elizabeth Bell Carroll's novel "Chopin in the Attic" is divided into tres partes: the first part is the breathlessly charming story of a ballerina-cum-novice-nun coming of age in the late 1960's. The second part is that our ballerina-novice-nun heroine also has temporal-lobe epilepsy . And the third part is that, okay, you know, everyBODY says, well, this or that problem was actually a blessing, but Carroll actually makes us feel the blessing in her TLE. Jesus reveals Himself to her, speaks with her, and walks beside her, just as He is fabled to do. And it isn't one bit odd. Carroll's visions remind me of William Blake and his placid yet fantastic revelations (he's due for a comeback, I'd say). I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in TLE, Catholicism, or a way through this wickedly binary world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Devin Householder on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chopin is an elegantly written coming-of-age memoir - a unique young woman caught between life in the insular existence of a convent and the real world outside. Through this transition she discovers the root of her unusual thoughts and longings. This memoir is much like Chopin itself, a pleasure to read and to glimpse into this defining time in the life of "Belle".

I may read it over again just for fun! I recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark (James Axler) Ellis on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Chopin in the Attic, the debut work by Elisabeth Bell Carroll, is a moving account of living with undiagnosed temporal lobe epilepsy, presented in the form of a young girl's journal.

The heroine, Belle O'Shane, perceives the world as filled with religious symbolism and mystical meaning. When her perceptions of reality are exploited by an older man who uses her sexually and as the subject of psychological experiments, not only her sanity but her very life is jeopardized.

Told in memoir fashion, Chopin in the Attic is multi-layered, tragic and at times even funny. Populated with a memorable cast of characters almost Dickensian in their eccentric personalities, they carry the story through one vivid scene after another.

At times, Chopin in the Attic has the feel of a picaresque novel, with Belle O'Shane as a post-modern Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

The prose is witty, elegant and artful, perfectly suited to tell a story of such complexity.

The book itself is something of a work of art - beautifully designed and packaged to suggest a journal...it is definitely added value for book lovers.
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By LiteraryLass on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Chopin in the Attic is something unique in the literary world. It is a work so beautifully crafted, so complex in execution and nuanced in message that it takes an adventuresome person to accompany Belle O'Shane on her journey into the frightening world of adulthood.

In Belle's world, statues of Jesus morph into gorgeous young men with whom a young Catholic girl can feel safe and protected--while falling deeper and deeper under a dark influence and venturing onto very thin ice.

As the story unfolds, Belle's undiagnosed Temporal Lobe Epilepsy leads her into dangerous territory, to the point where her involvement with the manipulative medical student Andrew Butterfield might well cost her her life.

Chopin In The Attic is a compelling journey on many levels. Beautifully written and seasoned with just the right amount of salty Irish humor, I highly recommend taking a trip with Belle O'Shane--she is a lively travelling companion.
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