Odds and sods

November 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Some new stuff of mine has cropped up online, for anyone who missed it, and might care.

Over at The Walrus, there’s a review of The Return, Dany Laferrière’s latest novel to be translated into English (by longtime collaborator David Homel):

Laferrière does not provide scenes per se, opting instead for a collage of sense impressions and memories to depict the roiling, sensual landscape of his homeland, in all its manifest contradictions: the rich who flee the discord of city life for refuge in the country; the art that thrives in a culture of repression; the seething discontent among friends and family members (“Most kidnappings are carried out between people who know each other well,” Laferrière writes. “That’s where hatred is most deep-rooted”).

Meanwhile, over at my 9 to 5 stomping grounds, Quill & Quire, you can find my thoughts about Ian Dowbiggin’s new book on the history of psychotherapy, The Quest for Mental Health:

Dowbiggin suggests the rampant diagnosis of mental illness in modern society results from the convergence of unbridled consumerism and what he calls “therapism,” the notion that a large number of mental illnesses are beyond the control of normal people and require professional intervention from “psychiatrists, psychologists, [and] counselors” to “educators, workshoppers, and life coaches.” The self-help movement, embodied by figures like Oprah and Dr. Phil, has convinced us that we are not to blame for any emotional distress we feel, and the pharmaceutical industry is more than happy to help us combat these problems – for a price – with everything from Prozac for depression to Xanax for anxiety.