Anomalous Affections: A Novel

Author(s) : Judith Ravenscroft

Anomalous Affections: A Novel

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In middle age, Lin is diagnosed with a chronic disease. Yearning for change and solitude, she finds affirmation in the life of the eighteenth-century French writer Isabelle de Charrière. Seeking an explanation for her condition, Lin examines her own stressful childhood, torn between her father’s love and her mother’s jealousy. She describes her unrequited passion in her twenties for an older man – a relationship that would be repeated thirty-five years later in therapy.

In the course of this eroticised transference her feelings of love alternate with rage, and the power imbalance between patient and therapist is laid bare. She emerges with a new sense that her emotional anomalies, like her physical ones, must be accommodated, without blame or bitterness.

This is a searing tale from a patient’s perspective of therapy, loneliness, and resolution.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘This book is a great achievement and should become a classic of solitude. It felt rare, unlike anything I’ve read, to be with a watcher of such keenness, looking outward at first to the infinitude of an icy, northern ocean; then cultivating the inward eye which opens up the pain as well as bliss of solitude. The record of an illness unfolding its demands, both physical and psychological, does not make this an illness story; rather its greatness lies in subtle challenges, mental isolation and habits such as unrequited love that lie at the core of our lives.’
- Lyndall Gordon, writer and biographer

‘An intensely moving examination of the way that illness affects our life journey and, in particular, our ability to love, Anomalous Affections recounts one woman’s painful - but ultimately liberating - journey toward personal truth. Beautiful and thought-provoking.’
- Richard Zimler, author of The Warsaw Anagrams and The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon

About the Author(s)

Judith Ravenscroft was born in 1947 and grew up in Hampstead, London. She studied History at London University and became an editor of academic books and of Shakespeare. She started to write fiction after meeting her partner, Timothy Hyman, a painter. Her stories have appeared in various magazines and have won prizes, most recently for her writing about Parkinson’s. She was diagnosed with the disease in 1997, aged fifty.

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