Tag Archives: guilt

Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones.

bones bones3d

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.”

This is Susie Salmon. Watching from heaven, Susie sees her happy, suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet . . . The Lovely Bones is a luminous and astonishing novel about life and death, forgiveness and vengeance, memory and forgetting – but, above all, about finding light in the darkest of places.

Publisher: Picador
Year: 2003
ISBN-10: 0330485385

(spoiler alert)

Green, Justin. Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary

binky binky3d

A lost classic of underground cartooning, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is Justin Green’s autobiographical portrayal of his struggle with religion and his own neuroses. Binky Brown is a young Catholic battling all the usual problems of adolescence–puberty, parents, and the fear that the strange ray of energy emanating from his private parts will strike a picture of the Virgin Mary. Deeply confessional, with artwork that veers wildly between formalist and hallucinogenic, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is the controversial masterpiece that invented the autobiographical graphic novel.

Publisher: McSweeney’s
Year: 2009
ISBN-10: 193478155X

Sontag, S. Illness as metaphor, and AIDS and its metaphors

In Illness as Metaphor , Sontag argues that the myths and metaphors surrounding disease can kill by instilling shame and guilt in the sick, thus delaying them from seeking treatment,” wrote PW. She sees, and discusses provocatively, a similar process at work in the case of AIDS.

Author: Sontag, Susan
Title: Illness as metaphor, and AIDS and its metaphors
Year: 1991
ISBN: 0140124276

Viewer Comments:


This is the first book I read ‘because it was on the ‘worth a look’ list’. It is really two extended essays on what Sontag saw as the dangers of ‘metaphor’. When we ‘wage a war on cancer’ when we seek ‘magic bullets’ in what ways do these ‘forms of words’ shape what may actually happen. It dates slightly, the first essay provoked by Sontag’s own cancer diagnosis seems to me wrapped up in criticising a ‘think positive’ ethos that has perhaps somewhat changed, the AIDS essay again is of its time, with some aspects of the epidemic having now moved on. Not a pool-side read, but a bright and lively mind, and good writing that will make you think.


Zola, Emile. Thérèse Raquin

Janine Henderson HYMS: “Perhaps one of the most miserable books I have ever read, but gripping nonetheless!  Deals with human frailty really, guilt, grief, depression and finally suicide (and a mother with “locked-in syndrome” in the centre of the unfolding plot.”

Publisher: Penguin Classics
ISBN-10: 9780140449440

(spoiler alert)

Dostoyevsky, F. Crime and Punishment

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.

Jonathan Lloyd HYMS: themes – madness, paranoia, obsession

Publisher: Penguin Classics
Year: 2003
ISBN: 0140449132