Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 171.
- Review Date: 2008-06-30
- Reviewer: Staff
After describing the sudden onset of madness in one of his older sisters, followed two years later by his younger sister's, Tracey seeks to understand the legacy of schizophrenia that has haunted his family for generations, traced back to his great-great-grandmother Mary Egan, who emigrated from Ireland. His search takes him first to County Roscommon, the mythic center of Ireland, where he explores the Irish lore of fairies who, according to myth, “capture minds from those who lose them.” Tracey then travels to Dublin to consider more scientific explanations for schizophrenia, but even Dr. Dermot Walsh, who helped link the dysbindin gene to this mental state, cannot offer anything conclusive. He concludes his travels at Gleanna-a-Galt where he finds the legendary well his mother told him about when he was a child, a well said to make the mad whole again. In a symbolic gesture—at a loss for anything else he can do—he procures two bottles of the healing water for his sisters. While Tracey finds no conclusive answers, his book helps to dispel misconceptions about schizophrenia and reveals the various attempts by experts to make sense of this mental illness. (Sept.)