The Other Side of You

...how little of another person’s reality is visible to us. We see their form, their features, their shifts of expression, but all that constitutes their sense of self remains unseen. And yet this invisible self is what to the individual constitutes their real identity. Salley Vickers

In The Other Side of You, Salley Vickers tackles the big, vital themes—love, art, communication, desire, suicide, death, self-knowledge, etc. She writes about these issues with considerable erudition and sensitivity. Her background in art history and psychotherapy make a major contribution to her novel.

The story--Elizabeth Cruickshank tries to end her life after the death of her lover, an art historian. Her failed attempt brings her to the analyst Dr. David McBride, who has also known the loss of a loved one-- the accidental death of his brother. Over the course of the novel, patient and therapist slowly begin to know one another, while sharing their respective grief.

…we had the kind of good-natured intimacy which is only possible between a man and a woman where sex will never be a factor.

In a single session, lasting the better part of seven hours, the two uncover the depths of their personal tragedies.

We all long for someone with whom we are able to share our peculiar burdens of being alive.

Along the way, Cruickshank introduces McBride to the paintings of Caravaggio. In them, they see their own world of pain and passion.

The Other Side of You is an engrossing novel, one that considers the variations of love-- between friends, siblings, doctors and patients. It plays a fundamental role in each person’s life, not only by its presence, but by its absence, as well.

Love is letting be. Letting the other one be as they are….Wanting to help them be that, not by doing anything—you can’t do anything for anyone anyway—but simply by want them to be nothing other than they are…

The Other Side of You is a deeply reflective meditation on psychotherapy at its best and the wisdom to be found in art. It is a philosophical novel of the first order.


Stefanie said...

Back to blogging? How have you been?

Richard Katzev said...

Hi Stefanie:

I've been OK, just a little older with all that goes with it. Your time will come--eventually, latter rather than sooner.

I thought I'd blog now and then simply to keep the synapses firing.

Thanks for commenting,


Anonymous said...

I am really looking forward to reading this book. Pyschotherapists are fascinating themselves, they know so much about us. Your comments about Vickers book reminds me of Irvin Yalom's books, which I really liked.

Thank you for the recommendation and review.

Richard Katzev said...

Thank you Anonymous, whoever you are. I am pleased by your comment. And yes, I am familiar with Yalom and his many books. I admire his writing a great deal.


Linda said...

Hmmm - I didn't mean to post as "Anonymous" - perhaps that is what happens when you take long breaks, Richard - I lose my identity.

Richard Katzev said...

Yet, I knew it was you. Clicking on "Anonymous" took me to your blog.