The Ice Marathon by Rosen Trevithick

cover imageNone of my family has ever suffered from depressive mental illness, so I have no personal experience of coping with the effects. I have watched various television programmes and read celebrity accounts describing the alternating bouts of depression and hyperactivity, but I have never felt that I had any real understanding.
This extraordinary book has changed that.
Emma is an intelligent, funny, caring, raunchy young woman with just one problem – bipolar disorder. She has learned from bitter experience how to control it with medication and a life regime that includes plenty of sleep. Pregnancy means the medication must stop and childbirth puts an end to the undisturbed nights.
The author brilliantly puts the reader inside Emma’s head as her world falls apart. As we only see through her eyes, like Emma we don’t know who she can trust and who she can’t.
This is a stunning novella: cleverly-constructed, well-paced – and very informative. I read it in a single session and felt as if I’d been pulled through an emotional mangle.

I bought it for Kindle from Amazon. The Ice Marathon

I Woke Up This Morning by Stuart Ayris

Cover image of I Woke Up This MorningThis is the final part in the Frugality trilogy. On review sites like Amazon and Goodreads, that ask for books to be rated, I keep 5-star reviews for books that I find truly exceptional. I gave this one 5 and, if I could, I’d have given it 10.

The writing style has developed through the trilogy into an extraordinary, free-flowing pouring forth of prose that is frequently poetic. At times I was reminded of Under Milk Wood and Ulysses, but comparisons can’t do it justice. It is unique – not so much a book, more a volcanic eruption of words, ideas and fears with the author as the central character. In a structure I’ve never seen before, the author writes himself into the novel as he joins the characters from the second book in a search for the central character of the first.

What makes it so powerful is not just the content, but the fact that, although this is nominally a novel, it is based on reality. The appalling event that is central to the story, and makes clear earlier events, actually happened.

Through the three books the author has given us hints: little baited hooks to capture us and draw us on.  At last we get to that crucial event that explains what lies behind. It is so vividly described that merely reading it is a gut-wrenching, soul-twisting experience.

Of course, this is faction and we don’t know which parts of the rest of the trilogy are based on reality, but it is more than enough to know the truth of that key event. I hope that the experience of writing the books has been sufficiently cathartic to allow the author to come to terms with his past and live with peace of mind.

I bought the book for Kindle from Amazon where print copies are also available. I Woke Up This Morning: FRUGALITY: Book 3

Tollesbury Time Forever by Stuart Ayris

Cover image of Tollesbury Time Forever.This book is the first in what the author has entitled his ‘Frugality’ trilogy. When I read it I had no idea that two more were to follow. It is one of those rare books that actually deserves the ‘literary’ tag, being an expression of ideas and philosophy rather than action. Apart from being literary, it defies genre classification. It is essentially an exploration of mental health issues and we are taken into the thought processes of Simon Anthony, a sufferer from mental illness, who lives in the village of Tollesbury in the Essex marshes.

The author has a unique style. Thoughts and words flow in an uninhibited stream. If a word has the meaning he seeks, but doesn’t sound right within the context, he makes up his own word. At times the prose has a rhythm and a beauty that is captivating. Poetry, prose and song lyrics all blend together.

The author is a mental health nurse, with his own problems. There is a feeling that this is a book that had to be written. That feeling continues through the other two books in the trilogy.

This is a book that can change attitudes – and there aren’t many of those around.

I bought my copy for Kindle from Amazon where print copies are also available. Tollesbury Time Forever: FRUGALITY: Book 1