Love in the AsylumBook - 2004
Can love save those who believe they are beyond redemption? That is the question at the heart of this eagerly anticipated new novel by the acclaimed author of In the Country of the Young and The Mermaids Singing, an utterly remarkable tale of salvation at the last possible moment in the last place imaginable.
Alba Elliot is tired of being crazy. In and out of Abenaki Mental Hospital more than a dozen times in ten years, fed up with diagnoses that come without cures and a life organized by a days-of-the-week pill case, the twenty-five-year-old children's book writer is waiting for a miracle.
Oscar Jameson, a thirty-year-old drug addict enrolled in the rehab program by his frustrated brother, is not looking for anything so profound. Oscar doesn't believe he has a problem, despite the fact that his "recreation" has cost him everything.
He resents the counselors, the other addicts, and his brother, all of whom insist he belongs there. The only activity Oscar looks forward to is the spirited, sarcastic conversations that have begun with Alba on the hospital lawn.
And so two damaged souls forge a connection.
To call it love would be courting disaster since no bright future could possibly exist between a suicidal manic-depressive and a self-deluding junkie.
Then one day, in the back pages of a hospital library book, Alba finds a letter written seventy years earlier but never sent. Mary Doherty, who was committed by her husband and taken from her children, left behind secret missives about the atrocities done to her and her belief in an ancient healing power. As Alba pieces together Mary's heartbreaking chronicle, she begins to set her hopes on a different kind of medicine.
Brought together by chance, influenced by forces as beautiful and powerful as they are unforeseen, Alba and Oscar will slowly rise from the ashes of despair and self-destruction and, in the midst of righting an old wrong, begin to heal their battered spirits. A superbly crafted, poignant narrative of tragedy and triumph, Lisa Carey's moving third novel is a testament to the surprising resilience of the human heart.