The brilliant new novel from the bestselling author of ‘Mr Golightly's Holiday’ and ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’.
'There is no cure for being alive.' Thus speaks Dr David McBride, a psychiatrist for whom death exerts an unusual draw. As a young child he witnessed the death of his six-year-old brother and it is this traumatic event which has shaped his own personality and choice of profession. One day a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is admitted to his hospital. She is unusually reticent and it is not until he recalls a painting by Caravaggio that she finally yields up her story.
We learn of Elizabeth Cruikshank's dereliction of trust, and the man she has lost, through David's narration. As her story unfolds David finds his own life being touched by her account and a haunting sense that the 'other side' of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him, too.
Set partly in Rome, ‘The Other Side of You’ explores the theme of redemption through love and art, which has become a hallmark of Salley Vickers's acclaimed work. As with her other highly popular novels this is a many-layered and subtly audacious story, which traces the boundaries of life and death and the difficult possibilities of repentance.
‘There is something rare and special about Vickers as a novelist. In exploring the connections between faith and imagination, art and redemption, religion and science in an intelligent, unusual but very readable way, she manages to touch something buried deep in all of us. It gives her work a quietly compelling quality.’ Peter Stanford, Independent
‘Kindred spirits and soul mates are at the heart of Salley Vickers' new novel set in a South Coast psychiatric institution and in Rome…This is a fine and multi-layered novel which suggests that suffering is necessary and that opportunities for happiness should be taken whenever offered.’ Daily Mail
‘Compelling.’ Alex Clark, Observer
‘Ferociously readable.’ Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
‘Love and pain, death and life, self knowledge and insensibility – all these big, vital themes converge in this moving, utterly engrossing novel.’ Guardian
‘The lives of the characters in this gently absorbing novel continue to resonate with the failures, possibilities, regrets and redemptions – consoled and mirrored by art – that we all endure.’ Carol Ann Duffy, Telegraph
About the author
Salley Vickers is the author of the bestselling ‘Miss Garnet's Angel’, ‘Instances of the Number 3’ and ‘Mr Golightly's Holiday’. She has worked as a university teacher of literature and a psychoanalyst. She now writes full time.
In this hypnotic chronicle of quiet desperation, 45-year-old English psychoanalyst David McBride has an intense and personally illuminating session with a suicidal patient that unlocks his own past. His 40-something married-with-children patient, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is silently tormented by her past love for Thomas Carrington, whom, she slowly tells David, she lost track of before her marriage, but met again in Rome as he pursued his passion for Caravaggio. David is not in love with his wife, Olivia, but doesn't much mind: he's emotionally crippled by guilt at the death of his brother in a street-crossing accident (he was five, his brother six). When he hears all of Elizabeth's story, however, something awakens. Vickers (Instances of the Number 3), a psychologist by training, portrays the therapeutic process in all of its messy glory its imperfections, conflicts and possibilities and she delivers wrenching conflicts of love within and outside of marriage. Caravaggio's work, in its own right and as symbolic of the role of art, becomes a lovely third theme, though not as richly plumbed as those of love and therapy.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The other side of you
What a thought provoking book. Might read it again. Now.
The other side of me
I like the plot, I like the characters and the way the author wrote. Easy I read it for 2 days.Real page turner.
The Other Side of You
I loved this book. Worth reading.