The Man Who Walked Away
In a trance-like state, Albert walks--from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia--all over Europe. When he walks, he is called a vagrant, a mad man. He is chased out of towns and villages, ridiculed and imprisoned. When the reverie of his walking ends, he's left wondering where he is, with no memory of how he got there. His past exists only in fleeting images.
Loosely based on the case history of Albert Dadas, a psychiatric patient in the hospital of St. André in Bordeaux in the nineteenth century, The Man Who Walked Away imagines Albert's wanderings and the anguish that caused him to seek treatment with a doctor who would create a diagnosis for him, a narrative for his pain.
In a time when mental health diagnosis is still as much art as science, Maud Casey takes us back to its tentative beginnings and offers us an intimate relationship between one doctor and his patient as, together, they attempt to reassemble a lost life. Through Albert she gives us a portrait of a man untethered from place and time who, in spite of himself, kept setting out, again and again, in search of wonder and astonishment.
Praise For The Man Who Walked Away: A Novel…
"Lyrical in its style and fascinating in its psychology, Casey’s narrative provokes a host of intriguing questions beyond those the Doctor raises, and Casey is wise enough as an author not to provide easy answers." —starred review, Kirkus Reviews
"Casey’s haunting third novel is both unconventional and engaging . . . Our need for stories, our relationship with time, the inevitability of loss, and our startling endurance all resonate through her beautifully crafted interweaving of image and observation, fairy tale and fact." —starred review, Publishers Weekly
"Maud Casey's The Man Who Walked Away is a haunting, deeply empathetic, and rigorously intelligent novel. It is also a seamless marvel of construction and language. The Man Who Walked Away cast a spell from which I never wished to wake." —Alice Sebold, author of THE LOVELY BONES and THE ALMOST MOON
"Pay attention, this lovely novel urges. As Maud Casey spins this mysteriously urgent tale of patient and doctor entwining, her quicksilver prose yields one astonishing image after another: each moment fleetingly beautiful, each character here--here!--and nowhere else. As this novel is like nothing else. Reading it is a singularly moving experience." —Andrea Barrett, author of SHIP FEVER and ARCHANGEL
"The Man Who Walked Away is a book of enchantments of an extremely intelligent kind. Dreamlike and sharply real, the novel unfolds in a nineteenth-century asylum where all the inmates have their own poetry of delusion, fear turned to metaphor. Wildly original fiction, with a particular melancholy magic." —Joan Silber, author of IDEAS OF HEAVEN and THE SIZE OF THE WORLD
Bloomsbury USA, 9781620403136, 240pp.
Publication Date: December 30, 2014