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Book reviews and Articles

I felt he wasn't my real father

In 1942, Salley Vickers' mother lost her legs in a German bombing raid. She didn't tell her husband till he came home from a prisoner-of-war camp when the second world war ended. But there was another secret she kept too ...

The Guardian, Saturday 24th November 2012

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The Testament of Mary

The greatest story ever told has been enjoying something of a revival. We have had Pullman’s ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’, Naomi Alderman’s ‘The Liar’s Gospel’ and now Colm Toibin throws his hat into the ring with ‘The Testament of Mary’, the life and death of Jesus as told, in sorrowful retrospect, by his mother.

The Times, 27 October 2012, Colm Toibin

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The Lions World

The Times, August 6th 2012, Rowan Williams

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, the series of children’s books about a magical world overseen by the elusive lion Aslan, sharply divides people: they love them with a passion or frankly loathe them. The former party have usually encountered Narnia as children and the early love affair has got into the blood. It is rarer for people to come to the books later in life and fall under their spell. But this was the case for Rowan Williams...

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Doctoring the Mind

The Guardian, Observer, 21 June 2009, Richard Bentall

Richard Bentall, a clinical psychologist, is a controversial figure in the field of mental health. An example of the hostility that his conclusions provoke among those practising conventional (that is, drug-based) psychiatry is given in the preface to this book, which raises serious questions about the treatment of mental illness.

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Mad, Bad and Sad

The Guardian, 23 February 2008, Lisa Appignanesi

Lisa Appignanesi has a notable track record as a novelist and a sophisticated commentator on ideas. Freud's Women, which she wrote with John Forrester, engaged with the theme that is explored more deeply and fully in this book: the puzzling and often disquieting place of women in the understanding and treatment of mental affliction.

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Intimacies

Financial Times, 18 August 2008, Leo Bersani and Adam Phillips

One of our civilisation’s founding myths is the Old Testament story of the expulsion from Paradise of Adam and Eve, the progenitors of the human race. Their crime is pillage of the tree of knowledge and it has been fashionable to understand this “original sin” of humankind as the felix culpa, the happy crime, since it seemed the necessary means to furthering human understanding and, ultimately, consciousness.

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