Umbrella

Umbrella

eBook - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
4
Recently having abandoned his RD Laing-influenced experiment in running a therapeutic community - the so-called Concept House in Willesden - maverick psychiatrist Zack Busner arrives at Friern Hospital, a vast Victorian mental asylum in North London, under a professional and a marital cloud. He has every intention of avoiding controversy, but then he encounters Audrey Dearth, a working-class girl from Fulham born in 1890 who has been immured in Friern for decades. A socialist, a feminist and a munitions worker at the Woolwich Arsenal, Audrey fell victim to the encephalitis lethargica epidemic at the end of the First World War and, like one of the subjects in Oliver Sacks' Awakenings, has been in a coma ever since. Realising that Audrey is just one of a number of post-encephalitics scattered throughout the asylum, Busner becomes involved in an attempt to bring them back to life - with wholly unforeseen consequences. Is Audrey's diseased brain in its nightmarish compulsion a microcosm of the technological revolutions of the twentieth century? And if Audrey is ill at all - perhaps her illness is only modernity itself? And what of Audrey's two brothers, Stanley and Albert: at the time she fell ill, Stanley was missing presumed dead on the Western Front, while Albert was in charge of the Arsenal itself, a coming man in the Imperial Civil Service. Now, fifty years later, when Audrey awakes from her pathological swoon, which brother is it who remains alive?
Publisher: London : Bloomsbury, 2012.
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
Notes: Downloadable eBook.
Requires Adobe Digital Editions

Opinion

From Library Staff

Comment
ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2013

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this stream-of-consciousness novel follows a psychiatrist at a mental hospital in London in 1971. At the same time, we are treated to an account of one of his patients, an octogenarian who's been institutionalized - and catatonic - for 50 years after contract... Read More »


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
c
Chapel_Hill_KenMc
Jan 11, 2015

A challenging book to read, Self has pulled off a Ulysses-like feat of technical brilliance, while constructing a surreal commentary on war, mental illness, and shifting perceptions. Not recommended for anyone looking for a straightforward plot.

Jane60201 Aug 05, 2013

As others have said, this is a challenging read, reminiscent of James Joyce. There are times when I was totally lost and others when I was blown away by the author's evocative use of description. These gems made it worthwhile.

m
mclarjh
May 28, 2013

The author obviously went to great effort to write this novel, but there is no reward for the reader.

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2013

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this stream-of-consciousness novel follows a psychiatrist at a mental hospital in London in 1971. At the same time, we are treated to an account of one of his patients, an octogenarian who's been institutionalized - and catatonic - for 50 years after contracting encephalitis lethargica. His efforts to treat her and glimpses of her youth during a short reawakening alternate with flashbacks to the lives of her brothers and flash-forwards to the doctor in 2010. A complicated read adorned with "snippets of dialects, stylistic flourishes, and inventive phrases loose with meaning" (Publishers Weekly), Umbrella is "mesmerizing" (Boston Globe).
Fiction A to Z Newsletter February 2013.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...
CCL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top