Patrick McGrath: Trauma

by OMB Staff on April 21, 2008

Trauma Patrick McGrathTrauma is Patrick McGrath’s latest novel about a New York psychiatrist whose specialty is helping Vietnam Vets deal with, what is now known as, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. A common thread emerges pretty quickly that seems to effect every character – whether they are suffering from the main psychological diagnosis or not. The story is predictable and somewhat basic in the psychiatric descriptions. McGrath explores a human defense mechanism that is probably one of the scariest. Repressed Memories. One of the main themes in this story is the complication of dealing with repressed memories, and the consequences delving into repressed memories can bring.

Some books invoke fear when delving into psychological problems, Trauma is not one of them. The novel could have benefited from a more in depth exploration into the treatment and psychological effects of dealing with the treatment. Unfortunately, the predictability of the story lent itself to ending with the psychiatrist going mad from his own trauma.

Trauma is well written, and the character development was solid; but is not an enthralling story, nor is it original.

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