From Publishers Weekly
McGrath (Port Mungo
) manipulates reader expectations expertly in this sharp-edged psychological study of a man deluded by his personal demons. Charlie Weir, a Manhattan psychiatrist, applies the life skills the members of his badly dysfunctional family have helped him hone to counseling patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. While everyone else he knows appears in danger of spinning out of orbit, Charlie exudes the calmness and confidence of a man in control of his circumstances. But he's unable to connect emotionally with the women in his life, and he repeatedly revisits his memory of the suicide of his ex-wife's brother, who was also one of his patients. With painstaking precision, McGrath drives this story to a climactic, if hastily resolved, moment of self-revelation in which Charlie uncovers a forgotten personal trauma that has perverted his perceptions and made him the most unreliable of narrators. Notwithstanding these efforts to give Charlie's tale the jolt of a psychological thriller, this is a haunting story of a man in the grip of a painful and beautifully articulated spiritual malaise. (Apr.)
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“McGrath at his dark-hearted best.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Beautifully crafted and paced, Trauma
[is] either a superb psychological thriller or a masterly evocation of modern alienation and despair. . . . A terrific literary entertainment, one that will keep you on edge.” —The Washington Post
“Full of sensitive, well-observed touches [and] elegant when it needs to be. . . . McGrath makes us see that our own minds are the most haunted of houses.” —Los Angeles Times
“Ambitious. . . . McGrath uses his potent storytelling powers to draw us into [his narrator's] fevered brain and convey his emotional distress.” —The New York Times
"The inversion of roles, the blurring of the boundaries between the rational and the irrational, the violence, the twisted sexual passions, the slipperiness of memory: these are familiar themes in McGrath's fiction. Here they are recombined in powerful and imaginative ways. Trauma
is a gripping psychological thriller. McGrath's prose is taut and lean; his way with characters is deft; and his explorations of the dark side of human nature are disturbing. And at the novel's centre, the descent of its narrator from a false sense of superiority into a pit of madness and despair is handled with great skill." —Andrew Scull, The Times Literary Supplement
“Tortuous, often gripping…The novel is aptly titled, since trauma can be said to be the origin and the end of its insidiously uncoiling developments.” —Sven Birkerts, The New York Times Book Review
“A haunting story of a man in the grip of a painful and beautifully articulated spiritual malaise.” —Publishers WeeklyFrom the Trade Paperback edition.