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The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers
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The Other Side of You (2006)

by Salley Vickers

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4081526,080 (3.79)11
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» See also 11 mentions

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An intriguing glimpse at the therapeutic relationship with the central focus being that of grief and an insight over time of the assistance to live life with meaning.
  Annabel1954 | Jul 26, 2014 |
Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you...
--But who is that on the other side of you?
~T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

"...the stark fact that nothing is ever settled between two human souls, for nothing is or can be settled until we are finally done and gone. But lovers are children; and I suppose that when you feel you have made true love, you believe you've found a back door into eternity and cannot afford the notion that it may not be open to you on your return."

"'Thomas had this devastating eye. He could see the essence of people.'
'It's a great gift.'
'I'm afraid it makes you lonely.'
'It would make you lonely. Great gifts do.'"

"I always believed she could see through to the back of my mind. Once you have experienced a certain closeness, the other kinds leave you wanting." ( )
  lgaikwad | Aug 29, 2013 |
Psychiatrist ( )
  IreneEMP | Jul 4, 2013 |
“After so devastating a disappointment it would make sense to turn to a Neil”

I read one of Vickers’ previous novels in my pre-blogging days, Miss Garnet’s Angel, and remember that it was mostly about a painting of Tobit or Tobias or Toblerone or some such personage. I did remember enjoying it though. And thus I seemed to be stepping into very familiar territory with The Other Side of You, which has a simple enough narrative structure – a few days in the life of psychologist and analyst Davey McBride, in which he treats some patients and interacts with colleagues and tries to figure out why his wife is being a bit strange.

One patient proves particularly challenging, a suicide outside the normal mood of desperation and cries for help; rather a woman who had no wish to continue living. Our protagonist feels a deep affinity with Mrs Cruikshank, but she takes a frustratingly long time to open up to him. What she does yield is a passion for Caravaggio, one shared by the doctor’s mentor. And this is where Vickers shines – her narrative is a pleasant enough construct for an emotional response to a series of Caravaggio’s artworks; Dr McBride returns to the National Gallery at one point and falls in love with Caravaggio’s The Last Supper.

The novel is religious without being proselytising – Vickers engrosses us in the culture of faith, not the practice. McBride makes numerous references to the men on the road to Emmaus, a story I’ve never understood well (what is its point? That Jesus chose to reveal Himself resurrected away from the crowd? That He wanted to test their loyalty first?) and delves into the tragedy of the men who have just lost their friend and leader, rather than the joy of reunion.

*minor spoiler alert* I’m so bored with infidelity. It seems to be in every book. It’s always the slightly controversial story on the side. That’s all I’m going to say here – Vickers takes the adultery storyline quite a lot further than most, with it being the focus of both Elizabeth and Olivia’s stories. Is there no other source of drama in adult interaction? *end spoilers*

Clever writing, fascinating characters and a bridge into the art world. I want to take the book with me back to all those Roman churches The Book Accumulator dragged me around when I was 14. ( )
  readingwithtea | Aug 4, 2012 |
I absolutely loved this. I'm not really that interested in art but it was such a fascinating story, and so well written. As soon as I finished it I was so tempted to flip back to the first page and start it all over again, which is pretty rare for me. Deeply moving and engrossing. ( )
  adrateia | Jan 30, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Who is the third who walks always beside you?

When I count, there are only you and I together

But when I look ahead up the white road

There is always another one walking beside you

...

–But who is that on the other side of you?

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Dedication
For Xopher
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She was a slight woman, pale, with two wings of dark hair which framed her face and gave it the faintly bird-like quality that characterised her person.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374221901, Hardcover)

For psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. David McBride, death exerts an unusual draw. Despite his profession, he has never come to terms with the violent accident that took his brother’s life, a trauma that has shaped his personality and subsequent choice of career. But when a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, comes into his care, he finds the deepest reaches of his suppressed history being reactivated. Elizabeth is mysteriously reticent about her own past and it is not until David recalls a painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio that she finally yields her story. As she recounts the chance encounter which took her to Rome, and her tragic tale of passion and betrayal, David begins to find a strange and disturbing reflection of his own loss in the haunted “other side” of this elusive woman. Through one long night’s dialogue they journey together into a past which brings painful new insight and uncertain resolution to each of them.  
 
The Other Side of You is a powerful meditation on art, and on love in all its manifestations. In distinctive, graceful prose, Salley Vickers explores the ways both love and art can penetrate the complexities of the human heart, to invade and change our being, and the possibilities of regeneration through another’s vision and understanding.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

David McBride is a psychiatrist unusually drawn to death. When he meets a failed suicide, he finds a haunting sense that the 'other side' of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him too. Salley Vickers traces the boundaries of life and death and the difficult possibilities of repentence.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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