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Book of the month

by Adam Haslett (Hamish Hamilton, £16.99)

This heart-wrenching story of a family stalked by depression is poignantly empathetic. It offers an elegant insight into the way the illness takes apart all life’s certainties and tests even the staunchest of relationships.

Michael is the dark star at the heart of the story; charming, troubled and compulsive, he’s orbited by his siblings, Alec and Celia, and his mother, Margaret. Suffering from overwhelming anxiety, as did his father, he’s reliant on alcohol, music and prescription medication to temporarily take away the dread. His plight awakens a bewildering blend of frustration, protectiveness and responsibility in his family, all movingly captured in beautiful prose.

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Psychologies August 2016 - Switch Off Slow Down