In the aftermath of a violent incident and near-death experience, Sarah Lange is plagued by heavenly voices and dogged by a desire to return “home.” Frightened by her desire to terminate her existence on earth, she checks into a trauma center in Malibu, California, and meets Dr. David Sutton, an intellectual, scientist, reductionist, and someone who believes in nothing beyond his immediate experience. David’s world is as divorced from mystery and magic as Sarah’s is alive with and animated by it. Their sessions open up a dialogue about the separation of worlds—one easily defined and explained and one unknowable and waiting on the other side of human experience. Even as his faith in his profession fades, David struggles to bring his disturbed patient back to the real world. In a desperate effort to define herself, Sarah “escapes,” and David must decide how far he is willing to go to save a patient, and ultimately, himself.
“Barbara Hall’s work has always been remarkable for showing the hidden worlds within the world around us. Charisma tells the story a woman trying come to terms with what appears to be a supernatural ‘gift’ and the doctor who tries to help her while not believing a word of it. As she did in her brilliant television series Joan of Arcadia, Hall presents the otherworldly elements in such a matter of fact way that the reader cannot help but believe in them. The duel of wits between patient and doctor dares to be witty, intelligent and emotionally generous all at once. It’s pitch perfect, dazzling fiction.” —Phoef Sutton
“Barbara Hall’s writing is exquisite in this riveting glimpse into the world of spirituality and mental illness, near death experience and the real life search for authentic existence. With captivating characters, pitch perfect dialogue, and a seemingly innate understanding of the Divine, Charisma is an existential, theological and literary tour de force.” —Rev. Andrea Raynor, author of The Voice That Calls You Home Barbara Hall is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and television producer. She is the creator and producer of the Emmy-nominated television series Joan of Arcadia. Her TV writing and producing credits include Northern Exposure, Chicago Hope, and Judging Amy.
She is the author of four young adult novels, including Skeeball and the Secret of the Universe (1987, Orchard Press), Dixie Storms (1990, HBJ), Fool’s Hill (1992, Bantam), and the mystery House Across the Cove (1995, Bantam). Her previous novels include A Better Place (1992), Close to Home (1997), and A Summons to New Orleans, all published by Simon & Schuster.
Barbara Hall lives in Pacific Palisades, California, with her daughter Faith.