Sharp, compassionate and darkly comic, this gripping literary thriller shows what happens when the lives of those you care about are suddenly, terrifyingly, at risk.
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Patrick Farrell’s life is complex, but under control. His work takes him through the streets of South London, repossessing credit cards and searching for missing debtors. And in the evenings he visits his schizophrenic brother, Mike, who stares out of his hospital room window, convinced he’s being watched. But when Patrick’s girlfriend introduces him to a new crowd with a strange interest in astrology and the occult, his world is thrown dramatically out of kilter.
Robert Dickinson is also the author of The Noise of Strangers (Myriad, 2010).
The story has at least three recognisable schisms. There is the schism between whether witchcraft is a sort of science or a sort of
tradition, the schism between what we consider reality and madness and the
schism between our world and other worlds. These are all comprehensively covered during the novel. This book covers a delicate subject in schizophrenia...lead[ing] to some very interesting discussions...I enjoyed the story.View source
Written with humour, intelligence and compassion The Schism is a novel about one brother’s love for the other and how they've been split apart by circumstances that are out of their control. Dickinson’s second novel is by turns darkly comical, terrifying and poignant as it tackles the impact of mental health issues on the family [...] I really enjoyed this novel, I found myself laughing out loud many times due to the well written sections of observational comedy. I was also profoundly moved, especially by the poignancy of the final paragraph.View source
In a novel about fraud, delusion and concealment, Dickinson diligently lays out clues and false trails. But as most of the characters already interpret phenomena in bizarre ways (one thinks an intruder must have gained entry through a crack in a mirror), it's enjoyably tricky to puzzle out what is actually going on. In the end, The Schism is one of those strange novels that isn't really about what it's about. Don't pick it up if you fancy a racy tale of the occult à la Dan Brown. This is an altogether subtler, and more unnerving affair.View source