Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
This story is probably better remembered as a movie (starring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte). The movie is only based on snippets of the story and doesn't do the novel justice at all.
It tells the story of a man who travels to New York to support his schizophrenic sister. But, quite unexpectedly, the focus of the sessions with his sister's psychiatrist becomes the psychological damage inflicted by his dysfunctional childhood and his marital problems.
The novel touches on a number of psychological issues: schizophrenia; the damage caused by his abusive parents; the split between private and public personae; the destructive impact of repression, denial and secrecy; sexual abuse; and the patient-psychiatrist relationship.
Although Conroy gives us a glimpse into the life, disintegration and thought processes of people living with schizophrenia, his portrayal is not 100% correct throughout the novel. The novel centres around the doctor-patient relationship which is unrealistic and unprofessional with an almost disturbing crossing of boundaries from the start.
Apart from the above, his novel is beautifully written and will keep you spellbound from the first paragraph.
(Review by Ilse Pauw)
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