When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.
The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another, has cast one aside.
Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.
Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.
A Recent Review:
“Like a lighthouse beacon on a treacherous coast, Christoph Fischer’s novel illuminates the darkness of man living with a mental disorder.
Charles has a noticeably atypical mind, perhaps mild autism and most certainly bipolar disorder. Since childhood, he has struggled to exist in a world created by and for “normal”, or what some call neuro-typical people, a world he cannot always understand and which most people take for granted.
The strain on his family has left its mark; his own brother doubts that Charles truly has a legitimate illness, and bitterly resents him for having taken up too much of their mother’s attention and resources while they were growing up. As the story begins, Tony has long been estranged from Charles, and the situation seems intractable.
Even in 2014, mental illness is still highly misunderstood and heavily stigmatized. Often, there seems to be two main reactions to those suffering mental illness—either withdraw in fear and disgust, or challenge the notion that sufferers of psychiatric disorders are legitimately ill, and rather blame them for their problems. At the basis of these misconceptions is ignorance, shrouded in fear.
I heartily applaud Fischer’s contribution towards enlightening people without preaching; in helping us take an in-depth look at mental illness and its toll on sufferers, as well as their families. Even more importantly, he has put a lovable face on a stigmatized group, and left us feeling hopeful that with love, understanding, and proper medical care, mentally ill and autistic people can not only lead a full life, but enrich our world with their creative gifts.”
Recent Tweets about Conditions
“Fischer put a lovable face on a stigmatized group”
“Conditions” illuminates the darkness of man living with a #mentaldisorder
“Conditions: the struggle to exist in a world created by and for neuro-typical people his own brother doubts that Charles has a legitimate illness & bitterly resents him mental illness is still highly misunderstood &heavily stigmatized. http://ow.ly/CKiAj
“people withdraw or challenge that sufferers of psychiatric disorders are legitimately ill the mentally ill cannot only lead a full life but enrich our world with their creative gifts http://ow.ly/CKmVn”
“CONDITIONS with understanding &proper medical care, mentally ill people can lead a full life http://ow.ly/CKnGG“
“A writer of great warmth & depth – a clever ride through all & what it is to be human http://ow.ly/CKoCt #asmsg”
“brilliant dialogue&scenes – Extremely touching” #mentalhealth all flavors&shades inhabited by the rest of us out here – a book not to be missed”