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Trauma by Patrick McGrath

Trauma (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Patrick McGrath

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2341449,373 (3.41)8
Authors:Patrick McGrath
Info:New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
Collections:Library book
Tags:Psychiatrists, PTSD, Vietnam, New York, relationships, divorce, death

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Trauma by Patrick McGrath (2008)


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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Don’t you hate it when a book by a favorite author just evaporates in your memory? It’s not that Trauma is a bad book, it’s just less intense than McGrath’s usual stories and my rereading wasn't a waste of time. There were a lot of things that kept me at arm’s length though; the time frame (1970s), Vietnam, Charlie’s understated reactions, the time switching. Was the total better than the sum of its parts? Hard to say. I think part of why I felt faintly disappointed is due to the copy on the flap. It talks of Charlie’s slipping hold on sanity. What? Where? He takes a reasonable stand in the face of Nora’s episodes and refusal of help. His desperate yearning/imprinting on Agnes seems totally in the main for a man of his age and type. And what else is a man to do about a weirdo brother in his present and a depressive, hurtful mother in his past? Cope as best he can and it seemed to me Charlie was.

I did like the slow reveal, as I do all of McGrath’s books. Things build, but you don’t get answers right away, not to every question. Like why does Walter seem to hate Charlie so much? What’s the deal with him and Nora? Why has Leon disappeared? Are Charlie’s recollections as faulty as hinted at? He was constantly giving himself an out by saying “at least this is how I remember things…”. The shadow of suicide was always upon him and that created a nice sense of dread. Who would be next?

If you’re new to McGrath, this might not make you an instant fan, but if you appreciate an understated story of psychological trauma and the ripple effects of secrets, you can do a lot worse. ( )
  Bookmarque | Feb 18, 2015 |
I admit to being a little disappointed in this book. I've grown accustomed to some superb gothic-like, creepy books among this author's works. In this novel, I found the story of a troubled psychiatrist who lives in New York city. Where did the dark and wet nights of England go? Not the same! The setting may be equally as bleak for someone in despair, but this was not what I was hoping for.

That aside, I couldn't quite get into this story of an aging man, Charlie Weir, who divorced his wife Agnes after feeling responsibe for her brother Danny's suicide. He hooks up with Nora, another troubled individual but cannot give up his hope to return to his previous life with his ex-wife and their daughter Cassie, to whom he was very devoted.

The ending of the story was there to explain more in detail about Charlie Weir. For me, though, I'd just like to catch the next plane to England to look for more of the characters found in this authors's other books such as Spider, Grotesque, and Dr. Haggard's Disease. ( )
1 vote SqueakyChu | Apr 8, 2012 |
Taught prose, creating a genuine sense of foreboding as central character uncovers the 'trauma' that he carries into every part of his life. Style resonant of Paul Auster. Haunting, unsettling. ( )
  Parthurbook | Aug 4, 2010 |
I loved Asylum, but just couldn't make myself finish this book. It dragged on, in my opinion. ( )
  Boutabook | Mar 3, 2010 |
McGrath might be standing on familiar ground with Trauma but its no less brilliant for that. A psychiatrist who specialises in treating trauma cases finds his work coming too close to home. Seven years on, living with the remnants of a broken marriage, he finds himself in a fragile relationship which gradually begins to open old wounds. As far as McGrath's fiction goes its up there with Spider, Asylum or Dr. Haggard's Disease. ( )
  unapersson | Feb 6, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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My mother's first depressive illness occurred when I was seven years old, and I felt it was my fault.
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Growing up in a severely dysfunctional family, Charlie Weir builds a career as a psychiatrist in New York City, but the suicide of a patient, the breakup of his marriage, and a volatile other woman lead Charlie to question everything, even his own sanity.… (more)

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