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The Listeners by Monica Dickens

The Listeners (1970)

by Monica Dickens

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Dickens examines the emotional lives of both those who use the Samaritans' service and the listeners themselves. She presents her characters with a sensitive voice, unflinching but not sentimental and without sensationalizing.

It's not much of a spoiler to say that at the outset you expect that at least one of her characters will complete a suicide attempt. That it's not at all obvious which is a testament to Dickens's skill as a writer, as it is that she makes you care.

The details of the Samaritans' procedures and service are no longer accurate, much having changed since 1970 when the book was written. What has not changed is the Samaritans' commitment to helping alleviate the distress of those suffering emotional turmoil, despair and feelings of suicide. A fine attestation of the work they have done and continue to do.

08457 90 90 90 (UK)
jo@samaritans.org ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Aug 25, 2014 |
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'Homo sum: humani nil a alienum puto.'

'I am a man: I count nothing human alien
to me.'

Terence, c. 190-159 B. C.
To Chad Varah,
Samaritan Number 1
First words
On the sunless side of the hills, where the overgrown town petered out at last in dead grey blocks of flats chucked down on the waste land for people who were supposed to be glad of them, a woman was lying on a bed.
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The engrossing, heart-warming story of what happens when people at the end of their tether contact the Samaritans...In this deeply felt, absorbingly told novel, Monica Dickens vividly portrays the Samaritans themselves as well as three would-be suicides - Paul the ex-schoolmaster whose career has been ruined by an alcoholic wife; Victoria, half-engaged to a peer's conventional son; and young Sarah who shimmers with apparent youth and human compassion. This is a story in Monica Dickens' inimitable style- salted with humour, and inspired with love.… (more)

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