Fairlight Moderns Novella
by Nial Giacomelli
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Pub Date 01 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 02 Sep 2019
‘If the population of the world had vanished while I was reading Nial Giacomelli’s beautifully observed novella, I’m not sure I would have noticed. It’s that good.’ — Christopher Stanley, author of The Forest is Hungry
‘This is a story about grief and loss, but also about how the social fabric of our world shapes our most personal limits. The narrative drive is perfectly pitched, conveying an urgency that carries us irresistibly along while at the same time fearlessly confronting and challenging us.’ — Dr Meredith Miller, literary critic and author of Little Wrecks
Average rating from 28 members
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..**
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.
With thanks to Netgalley and Fairlight for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
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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