“ When I was a child I didn’t have an identity and I didn’t want one. I was neither boy nor girl, male nor female. I was just a pair of eyes, a nose, some ears. Receiving the world, the brilliant blue sky, people talking above me.”
Will Eaves, The Absent Therapist
Oh yes I thought, but then they gave me a designation and it made no sense.
A-ha moments like this surfaced throughout my engagement with the slim volume that is Will Eaves’ brilliant The Absent Therapist. Deceptively simple, the fragmented pieces that form this most unusual, experimental, but achingly human novella are carefully crafted and finely polished moments in time.
Described on the cover as a “miniature but infinite novel”, I found myself returning over and over to my favourite strands and marking them in the margins. Although some fragments appear to be linked or feature the same characters or themes, the overall experience is akin to floating through the ether, engaging momentarily with the thoughts, frustrations, memories, and conversations – internal or external – that swirl through the mind. Your mind. The minds of others.
At times reflective and philosophical, at times obscure, at times laugh out loud funny (“I went to the Spanking Club once…”) these little pieces reminded me of the snippets of the stories we tell ourselves and others as we knit together and make sense of our lives. As we engage our own absent therapist.
I had heard of this book, and am familiar with the author’s more conventional work, but when I saw it appear on a couple of the “best of 2014” lists of reviewers I particularly respect, I became desperate to get my hands on it. Not an easy feat since it is not available here in Canada (even though as readers we spend time on the west coast and Vancouver on this little journey of fragments). I ordered it from the UK and coincidentally it arrived earlier this week as I was out on my way to my very present and vital therapist.
Rarely has such slight book offered so much, this is a company of voices to which the sensitive reader can return again and again. Relate to the lonely, commiserate with the angry, recognize the nostalgia expressed. Marvel at the philosophical musings, those poetic moments we strive to find meaning and guidance in, but that too frequently pass and get lost under the crush of everyday life. I would even dare the same reader to not mark favourites in the margin.
“ The balm of consolation is too strong for some. Its most powerful ingredient is not the emollient lie that time heals, but the more astringent perception that whether we heal or not, the wound was deep and real and ours.”
10 thoughts on “The Absent Therapist or listen now, can you hear the voices…”
Sounds exquisitely fabulous and I want it. Idk how I missed the fact that you updated, I came to your blog to whinge at you for not updating. Oops.
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Sorry to be slow in updating, I was too busy reading. This book is easily one of my favourites of the year. I would press it in to people’s hands on street corners if only it available here.
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No worries 🙂 I’ll have a looksee where I can get it from after the holiday season (we have postal strikes more than you change your socks).
I’m thrilled that you liked The Absent Therapist. Your thoughtful engagement and kind words mean a lot to me. The best way to get hold of the book is to order it from cbeditions.com (the one-man-band publisher will be pleased. With many good wishes, Will.
Thank you for absolutely one of the most rewarding reading experiences of my year. I will do my best to get the word out here, short of standing on the street corner and pressing it in to people’s hands as they pass by. Best wishes to you too.
I will surely ne on the lookout for ‘The Absent Therapist’. I see that Will Eaves left advice on the best way to order it.