Agatha: A Book Review

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Some novellas leave you wanting whilst others such as the Guest Cat and Agatha are powerful works that impact on your soul.

Agatha by Anne Cathrine Bomann loses nothing in the translation. Written in the first person it tells the final days to retirement of a psychiatrist starting with 800 conversations to go. He pays scant attention to what his patients say, often drawing bird charicatures instead of taking notes. Agatha is a new patient he doesn’t want to take on but forced to he believes that he can help her. Through his attempts to make her better, he faces his own life. It is a tale of loneliness, mortality, transformation and the difficulties of making connections.

His secretary had worked for him for thirty years yet they had no relationship outside that. ” Before I accompanied Madam Almeida into my office, I shot my secretary a glance. She was sitting very quietly at an uncluttered desk, staring down at its surface. The anglepoise lamp cast her stony shadow onto the wall behind her, and she looked so dejected that for a moment I considered whether I ought to say something. But what? Instead I drew the door shut behind me and turned to my patient.”

In only 147 pages no word is superfluous and the writing is beautiful. He reflects “How often had I listened to my patients complaining and been glad their lives weren’t mine? How often had I turned up my nose at their routines or secretly jeered at their foolish concerns? It occurred to me that I’d been imagining my proper life, my reward for all the grind, was waiting for me when I retired. Yet, as I sat there, I couldn’t for the life of me work out what that existence would contain that was worth looking forward to. Surely the only things I could reliably expect were fear and loneliness? How pathetic. I’m just like them…”

Would I recommend this book: Without any hesitation yes. These are characters that are believable inside a beautifully told story of the inner depths of humaness.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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4 Responses to Agatha: A Book Review

  1. This sounds very good, Irene!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Sound like a sad book, Irene. Maybe one I would tackle when my life is more upbeat?

    Liked by 1 person

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