The saga of a compelling backward journey through a broken mind...
Paige Lyman, an accomplished psychiatrist, is on the verge of madness but she doesn't know it yet. It had all begun with a simple act of love. And love, for her, was a blonde-haired Irish boy, named Bill. And when he abandoned her for priesthood, her world collapsed. But that was before she met Stern W. who swept her off her feet and married her, and they lived happily ever after as in a fairy tale, until he died in a helicopter crash over the Hudson River.
Then she discovered the startling truth about who her husband really was, and vengeance transformed her from psychiatrist to patient. Now, will she be able to hold onto her heart-wrenching secrets?
`Like the cheery whisper of an admirer after a heartbreak'
Author, poet, journalist Augustine Sam lives in Venice, Italy - that most romantic of all cities - and offers this his first novel for romantics and those looking for meaning in the many challenges life offers. Augustine is a bilingual journalist, a member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, a former Special Desk editor at THISDAY newspapers, an authoritative third world daily, first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London. He later became correspondent for central Europe. In is personal hours he writes poems and his poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence & Measures of the Heart. One of his poems: Anguish & Passion was adjudged winner of the Editors' Choice Award in the North America Open Poetry contest, USA. This poetic background is evident in the manner in which he approaches prose - words so eloquently phrased that each page gives the reader the sense that resetting the words would create one of his unique poems.
Often in the prologues of fine novels, the author introduces not only pertinent subject matter but also offers an aperitif of writing style that acts as an overture to the music that will follow. Such is the case with Augustine's Prologue - pay attention to the language: `Diane was dreaming about her husband, John, when suddenly, a strange sound woke her. A sensation of foreboding followed by a shower of gooseflesh, gripped her as a loud, familiar voice came to her from the direction of the living room. "Okay folks," the voice said, "today we won't dwell on the notion that women are biologically castrated men because that has already been rejected as scientifically unsatisfying." Diane's jaw dropped. "Oh, no," she muttered; she inclined her head, and listened, scowling and gaping. A shudder followed. It was nearly half past seven in the morning. Thin rays of daylight trickled into the room through the window, illuminating her face. "Aw," she croaked, and struggled to a sitting position, her hand instinctively caressing her slightly protruding belly. Stifling a yawn, she swung her feet from the bed, and carefully placed them on the Persian rug. "Stay safe, John," she said, as her thoughts embraced him, alone in Detroit, a determined courtroom brawler, steeling himself for his first real legal battle. She hoped he would win his case. She rose from the bed and pulled a chiffon robe over her shoulders. Fluffing her hair, she walked to the window of the small, all-white room in her mother's cottage. In silence, she parted the blind, squinting. A late September sun rose over the Manhattan skyline. The delicate cast of its rays captured the cloudless sky in a halo of naked beauty. Intrigued by the sight, Diane patted her baby bump and gazed, fascinated, at the rising sun, perched at the horizon like a giant ball of fire. She pulled the window ajar, and leaned against the pane, gazing animatedly at the people on the sidewalks.' As with composers, some themes have been set in motion in this brief passage that will gradually become the story.
The author's synopsis offers what follows; `What would you do if you found out that the man you married is not who you thought he was? What would you do if you suddenly discovered that you have indeed had the one thing you had yearned for all your life without realizing it? Now, imagine a woman transformed from psychiatrist to patient, and lured into a compelling backward journey through her own life on a psychotherapist's couch. Imagine skeletons from the past pulling her back into the vortex of darkness from which she thought she had escaped. Paige Lyman is a woman conned by fate, and plagued by damning memories she must decipher in order to be free. `Take Back the Memory' is a psychological exposé on love, betrayal, vengeance, and a heart-wrenching secret.'
And that is all you need to know to embrace this new writer whose talent is immense. Poet and storyteller blend seamlessly in a drama that explores the human psyche and that thin line between living and experiencing life. Highly recommended.
To say that Paige Lyman has been through a lot is an understatement. She's been through the proverbial wringer, and has been scorned by her former love who turned to the priesthood. In a sort of bitter revenge, she begins to seduce men of the cloth, one at a time, in an odd bid for justice against the people Paige blames for her lost love. Finally she finds peace with Stern, her new husband, but in that rest, the haunting, bitter, and dark memories come back and reveal themselves to both the reader and Paige herself. Take Back the Memory by Augustine Sam is an intellectual and emotional look into the mind of a somewhat broken individual.
Paige herself is a very quirky woman. It's clear that she has a different way of thinking about the world around her; some would say in a brilliantly different way. You can't help but feel sympathy for her, as well as consternation at some of her choices and past decisions. In fact, some of the more descriptive stuff with the priests made me kind of hate her a bit. Why is that a good thing? Because she has a truly defined character, one that had to be broken down in multiple ways before being built back into a person. Augustine Sam has a great deal of talent in building up a suspenseful story before an excellent resolution. I would be thrilled to read more from him, and Take Back the Memory certainly will appeal to romance, suspense, mystery, and women's fiction readers.
Take Back the Memory is Augustine Sam’s first foray into writing novels, after a successful journalism career and published poetry collections. It’s a fictional work depicting the fallout of a husband’s death and the impact it has on his widow and their daughter, also focusing on their life’s journeys to that pivotal point. In his work, Sam reaches moments of greatness—mixing a fine writing style with exciting plot points ...
The story opens on Diane, the daughter of our main character, Paige. Diane grows worried for her mother’s sanity, given her recent tendency to walk nude around their home, giving speeches to invisible crowds. She enlists the help of Dr. Wilson, a colleague of Paige, who works with her using a technique variant of psychotherapy. Sam uses this as the bulk of the storytelling, usually explained further through flashbacks as Paige is lulled into a tell-all mindset during her therapy sessions. Through her sessions, Paige explains her recent madness concerning religious figures and sexual frustration, as Dr. Wilson attempts to piece her trauma together.
The greatest strength of Take Back the Memory is its author’s writing. Sam’s penmanship is downright gorgeous at points, and he uniquely uses dialogue to establish the setting. It’s not hard for the reader to guess that he has a poetic background. But be warned: this book is steamy. The descriptive and very mature scenes might not be appropriate for younger readers, but Sam leaves out a lot of description of emotions during these moments that makes sense. His story has occasions where the reader yearns to flip the pages and find out what happens next ...
Overall, Take Back the Memory is a well-written work by an author who clearly knows what he’s doing.
A pleasure to read with its ease, fluidity, the economy and tight structure, as well as the precision of Sam's prose.
In award-winning poet, Augustine Sam's debut novel Take Back the Memory, psychiatrist Paige Lyman reluctantly follows the advice of her daughter Diane, who thinks her mother is going mad, and seeks professional help from a psychoanalyst, Dr. Wilson. What follows is a series of psychoanalysis sessions wherein using free association Paige is guided by Dr. Wilson into the darkest corners of her mind. Paige informs Dr. Wilson that she is in the process of writing her memoirs and is urged to divulge everything that comes to her mind, regardless how insignificant, painful or weird it may seem to her.
It is during these sessions that we learn that when Paige was a youngster living in Kenya she was madly in love with a handsome Irish school mate, Bill Madigan, whom she thought she would one day marry. However, Bill's father had other plans for his son and was preparing him to go into the priesthood. After Bill completed his primary school education, Bill was sent off to a junior seminary in Ireland and for Paige the world was never the same again. She never heard from Bill again and believed he earned a degree in Theology and was subsequently ordained a priest.
Devastated and betrayed, Paige in subsequent sessions reveals that she was obsessed in avenging Bill's betrayal. Consequently, discovering her sexual powers and that men were drawn to her “like moths to a glittering light,” she embarks in a series of sexual conquests with three priests believing her actions to be sensual sorcery. To Paige this was a personal vendetta to deliberately destroy every priest's vow of celibacy. She wanted these priests to suffer, “it would transform them overnight from saint-like, cassock-wearing charlatans to barefaced sinners, from intercessors to victims, from God's own torchbearers to outright fornicators.
Although none of these encounters healed Page, she does find true love when she meets Stern W, a medical researcher, who sweeps her off her feet and marries her. For Paige he had made the impossible happen as he changed her from a woman full of self-hate to someone who became a responsible wife and mother. In the end, which incidentally turns out to be quite a surprise, we are left to ponder the novel's final words - “Love is a mystery.... an indecipherable mystery.”What makes this erotically charged tale an outstanding debut is readers can actually feel the protagonist leaping off the page and sitting in their living rooms describing the messy complications of her life.
In addition, Sam's superb storytelling talent runs the spectrum from crafting a candid psychological exposé with tantalizing illicit sex scenes to a grim depiction of a scorned troubled woman who has suffered from long-term hurt. Another plus about this novel which makes it a pleasure to read is the ease, fluidity, the economy and tight structure, as well as the precision of Sam's prose which has a deft accuracy in its tone and execution. I would surmise that his outstanding poetic skills had a great deal to do with his ability to effortlessly spin quite a yarn.
Paige Lyman, an accomplished psychiatrist, has skeletons in her closet that she is unable to face. Her daughter, Diane, is worried about her sanity because she has started talking to herself, like she is giving a speech to an audience. Diane thinks this might have come about because of her father’s sudden death. Paige does consult a fellow psychiatrist, Dr. Wilson. During their sessions Paige uncovers many distressing memories about her past. Can Paige overcome her revealing history or will her lucid memories destroy her?
This book is well written. The plot-line is easy to follow and the characters are well developed. While there are parts of the story that are sad and /or troubling, there is also happiness within.
I loved the surprising twist at the end.