Cover Image: The Therapist

The Therapist

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Member Reviews

My thoughts

Oh wow. Okay, so I found the premise of this one particularly intriguing and figured it would be something that I’d enjoy – but this little novela really blew me away.

The Therapist is a story of two parts. A fatal disease takes hold of the state of Oregon, both unknown and terrifying, slowly and surely spreads across the country. While this surreal disease takes hold of the country, we go on a journey with the narrator and his wife Simone as they try to come to terms with the loss of their young son in a tragic accident. In this literary/post-apocalyptic/surreal novella, we see Simone almost disappear following the death of her child, while the rest of the country face a similar epidemic, but for them, they really are disappearing, into thin air, never to be seen again.

“It strikes me suddenly that loss is a process disguised as an event”.
This short but complex novella is a haunting exploration of grief pulling from several genres to create a piece of fiction that left me reeling for days after. A masterfully crafted story in less than 150 pages, I had to force myself to hold back, not to devour in one sitting. It was a challenge but it was worth it. I read every word, sometimes twice, to make sure that I captured every little detail in my mind – to be savoured and revisited later. 

If I had one complaint about the book, it would be that I wish it was longer. I could have read a thousand pages if they were written in the same manner and contained the same themes. I suppose that’s the beauty of a novella – a whole world in less than 150 pages. Now while this is my first experience of anything written by Giacomelli and I very much hope it’s not my last. Just on The Therapist alone, I will certainly going on to read anything and everything ever published but this spectacular author. 

I think it’s fair to say that I gave this one 5/5 stars…. Bet you couldn’t tell from all the gushing I didn’t do…? And fear not, this exceptional book will be published on the 1st of August by the wonderful people at Fairlight Moderns.
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Another novella from the Fairlight Moderns series, The Therapist by Nial Giacomelli is a heartbreaking meditation on loss and guilt.  

A devastating disease ravages the USA from West to East, causing mysterious symptoms, delusion and euphoria, and then the disappearance of the body. At the same time the (unreliable?) narrator and his wife struggle to deal with the loss of their young son in a tragic accident.  

Told in breathtakingly beautiful prose, this is at once a haunting study of grief, a post-apocalyptic dystopia, and ghost story of sorts. 

It's another one where it's best not to know too much before going in, so that the story gradually unravels the deeper you go.
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I absolutely loved this book. Please see the link to my blog below with the full review.
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Like all Fairlight books, this little book also intrigued me and didn't disappoint. These are just little gems. 
This story is centered around a couple after the loss of their young son, very difficult to endure. They seek help to be able to manage their marriage. On top of this drama, a pandemic is affecting the country causing anxiety and panic. 
This additional element brought some horror and gothic elements to the book, which was brilliant to be honest. It's a perfect example of a cross over between genres. I really enjoyed it. The portrayal of this couple under this difficult circumstances was also very successful.
All in all, excellent novella I enjoyed a lot. 

Very much recommended.

Thanks a lot to Netgalley and Fairlight for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A beautifully crafted novella which focuses on a couple after the devastating loss of their young son.  Told from the husband's point of view, The Therapist charts the couple's life and their struggle to fight for their marriage in the wake of their son's accident, going so far as to seek help.  If this wasn't enough, a bizarre pandemic, causing panic and terror, begins to mercilessly sweep across the country leaving nothing in its wake.

This was an excellent read and difficult to confine to one genre.  Giacomelli captured the couple's turmoil throughout the grieving process honestly and brilliantly.  His descriptions of the unidentified plague rampaging across the land were atmospheric, almost straight out of the best gothic horror novels.

Highly recommended.

With thanks to Netgalley and Fairlight for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thoroughly enjoyable.  It kept me interested throughout, and the prose was wonderfully Gothic and atmospheric.  A simple yet clever idea, which was so well executed.
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This novella is hard to pigeon-hole.  On it's surface it's about two on-going events: a couple suffers through the loss of their 6-year old son and, at the wife's urging, begins to see a strange marriage counselor some distance into the country from where they live in Chicago.  Meanwhile, a bizarre plague has broken out in Oregon, killing rapidly after a day or two of strange mental activity, at which point the body sheds first its skin, then bones and nerves, and finally disappears.  While barely managing to go on with the their lives, the couple watch on the news as the plague moves across the country.  

The story is told from the husband's perspective.  There are indications that not everything he perceives is real, or occurring during his waking hours.  Normally, this kind of plot would deter me from reading the book, but I found the story compelling, all the while wondering if the husband himself was sick and hallucinating the whole thing.  I never did figure out exactly what was going on, but in the end that didn't detract from my enjoyment of the tale, so I'd have to definitely recommend it.
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Nial Giacomelli's The Therapist, part of the Fairlight moderns novella series, is a searing meditation on loss expertly juxtaposed with a world ravaged by a devastating disease. 

The story focuses on a couple who have lost their son recently to an accident, and is told from the husband's point of view as he attempts to deal with the conflicting emotions associated with the accident as well as attending therapy sessions with his detached wife. As they navigate their new normal, a new disease crops up on the west coast that causes mysterious symptoms and eventually forces its victims to disappear completely. The narrative flows back and forth between scenes of terror from the spreading disease and the husband ruminating on crucial times in his marriage and with their son. 

The end result is a combination of bleak dystopia and an Edgar Allan Poe style unreliable narrator who is consistently trying to find meaning and place in a world quickly losing stability. It's not light reading despite being short in length, but it's one of the more poignant portrayals of loss I've read this year. 

**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Fairlight Books..**
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A previously unknown, fatal disease grips Oregon and then, eventually, spreads across the States. As panic mounts, the narrator and his wife Simone try to come to terms with their feelings of grief and guilt following the death of their young son in an accident. But will it be possible for them to save themselves and their marriage, while the world seems to be falling apart?

Nial Giacomelli’s engrossing and psychologically complex , published as part of the latest batch of Fairlight Moderns, borrows strongly from genre fiction. This is evident in its post-apocalyptic, dystopian premise, spiced with an element of body horror and an unreliable narrator worthy of the best Gothic fiction. One could also read the novella as a ghost story – possibly not in the traditional sense of the word, but certainly insofar as it explores the idea of how the dead remain with us, “haunting” our existence. Indeed, it soon becomes evident that the deadly epidemic, culminating in the dramatic ‘disappearance’ of its victims, is a novella-length allegory or extended “pathetic fallacy”: the large-scale manifestation or metaphor for the private grief of the protagonists.

As the novel progresses, the narrator’s dreams take centre-stage, and the mysterious figure of the (unnamed) therapist assumes an increasingly important role. Her questions tease out layer upon layer of meaning, leading to unexpected plot twists and turns and an ending which sent me back to the first pages of the book.
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