Item description for My Brother's Madness: A Memoir by Paul Pines...
"Few books nourish the psyche and stir the heart as much as My Brother's Madness."-David Unger, author of Life in the Damn Tropics
My Brother's Madness is based on the author's relationship with his brother-who had a psychotic breakdown in his late forties-and explores the unfolding of two intertwined lives and the nature of delusion. Circumstances lead one brother from juvenile crime on the streets of Brooklyn to war-torn Vietnam, to a fast-track life as a Hollywood publicist and to owning and operating The Tin Palace, one of New York's most legendary jazz clubs, while his brother falls into, and fights his way back from, a delusional psychosis.
My Brother's Madness is part thriller, part exploration that not only describes the causes, character, and journey of mental illness, but also makes sense of it. It is ultimately a story of our own humanity, and answers the question, Am I my brother's keeper?
Paul Pines grew up in New York City and is the author of five books of poetry, including his most recent, Adrift on Blinding Light. His novel, The Tin Angel, was critically very well received. He currently lives with his wife Carol and daughter Charlotte in Glens Falls, New York, where he teaches American literature and creative writing at Adirondack Community College, practices psychotherapy at Glens Falls Hospital, and hosts the annual Lake George Jazz Weekend.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2007
Publisher Curbstone Press
ISBN 1931896348 ISBN13 9781931896344
Availability 11 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 06:31.
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More About Paul Pines
Paul Pines grew up in Brooklyn around the corner from Ebbet's Field and passed the early sixties on the Lower East Side of New York. He shipped out as a merchant seaman, spending 1965-66 in Vietnam, after which he drove a taxi and tended bar until he opened The Tin Palace in 1970, on the corner of 2nd Street & Bowery, the setting for his novel, The Tin Angel (Wm Morrow, 1983/ Author's Guild, 2008). Redemption (Editions du Rocher, 1997), a second novel, is set against the genocide of Guatemalan Mayans. My Brother's Madness (Curbstone, 2007) a memoir that explores the unfolding of two intertwined lives and the nature of delusion has recently enjoyed wide critical acclaim. Pines has also published seven volumes of poetry: Onion (Mulch, 1971), Hotel Madden Poems (Contact II, 1991, Pushcart nominee), Pines Songs (Ikon, 1993, Pushcart nominee), Breath (Ikon, 1996), ADRIFT ON BLINDING LIGHT (IKON 2003), TAXIDANCING (Ikon, 2007) and LAST CALL AT THE TIN PALACE (Marsh Hawk, 2009). Selections of his poetry have been set by composer Daniel Asia on his two CDs, Songs from the Page of Swords and Breath in a Ram's Horn, appear on the Summit label. Asia is currently composing music for a libretto by Pines based on The Tin Angel. Among his work as a translator he has contributed to Small Hours of the Night, Selected Poems of Roque Dalton, (Curbstone, 1996); Pyramids of Glass, (Corona 95); Nicanor Parra, Antipoems: New and Selected, (New Directions,1986). He is the editor of Dark Times Full of Light, the Juan Gelman tribute issue of The Cafe Riview (Summer, 2009). High praise for his work includes: The Tin Angel, "Superb" (The Washington Post), "This swift tale of murder and revenge rattled along stylishly and fulfills all our expectations for high-grade suspense" (The New York Times Book Review); My Brother's Madness, "great writing, no doubt about it" (NPR commentator Andre Codrescu), "It is ultimately a story of our own humanity" (Kirkus Review); Hotel Madden Poems, "brilliant and compelling" (American Book Review); Breath, "instantaneous travel along our internal galaxies" (American Book Review); and, Adrift on Blinding Light "[that] navigates the conscious and subconscious worlds with fluid, imaginative, and fascinating energy" (Multicultural Review). Pines has conducted workshops for the National Writers Voice program and lectured for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Ossabaw Foundation, and Virginia Center, as well as a recipient of an Artists' Fellowship, N.Y.S. Foundation for the Arts, 1984 and a CAPS Fellow, Poetry, 1976. He is a member of PEN, BMI, C.G. Jung Foundation, and The Author's Guild. Paul Pines lives in Glens Falls, New York, where he practices as a psychotherapist and hosts the Lake George Jazz Weekend.
Reviews - What do customers think about My Brother's Madness: A Memoir?
Fascinating, well-written book. A classic memoir Nov 29, 2007
Don't let the title scare you." My Brother's Madness" by Paul Pines is a page turner. The story ricochets gracefully from past to present. This gives the insight into the pressures of growing up in an unstable environment. These jumps forward and backward are clear and easy to follow and add a level of suspense. This memoir is not your typical psychological thriller. It's a factual one! Told with a an elegant simplicity and a sustaining sense of humor, "My Brother's Madness" is a pleasure -- disturbing, yes, but a pleasure. Upon reaching the end, one feels the most astounding thing is not that one brother cracked up, but that the other somehow made it through. I couldn't recommend it more highly.
A Monumental Work Nov 26, 2007
"My Brother's Madness" Paul Pines' "My Brother's Madness" is a remarkable portrayal of both the causes and effects of his brother Claude's schizophrenia and of his own never-ending efforts to help him survive it, if not conquer it. Pines paints a vast panorama of two lives, of their genetic, familial, societal and personal elements, told in the fascinating day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year details of a sometimes rewarding, often frustrating and frequently exasperating ---but always loving---brotherhood. There are many times you want to laugh, yet you know that soon you will have to cry. Reading the memoir, I was transported into the brothers' family, into the minds and hearts of their parents and of the brothers themselves. I thought their every thought, lived their every experience, felt their every emotion. And, like the author, as much as I learned, I came to know that there is much I will never know. Which makes me appreciate his efforts even more. "My Brother's Madness" is a monumental work.
My Brother's Madness Nov 12, 2007
In My Brother Madness, Paul Pines shares the story of his brother's Claude's declining mental health. The book's structure allows the reader to get know Paul and Claude by alternating between childhood memories and scenes of Claude as an adult descending into and struggling with mental illness. It doesn't seem as if the childhood memories were shared to analyze or explain the why of Claude's illness. Instead, the reader is left to draw their own conclusions as they come to know Paul and Claude and ties that bind them. Without protraying himself as hero or savior, Pines shares the guilt, frustration and challenges of caring for his brother. Amazingly, at the same time,he unassumingly inspires the reader to see the ways these disproportionate relationships can positively shape and add value to our lives. Most importantly, is the fact that this book does truly achieve the old cliché of "putting a real face to mental illness". Something Claude himself reluctantly did. We celebrate Claude's success and feel the pain when he stumbles. After reading My Brother's Madness, you will not soon forget the beauty and the burden loving sometimes brings.
one good memoir Nov 10, 2007
In a market saturated with memoirs, many of them static and self-indulgent, "My Brother's Madness" by Paul Pines shines like a bright star and reads like a fast-paced novel. Pines achieves this pacing by alternating scenes in Brooklyn (1950s-60s) where he and his brother Claude grew up, with scenes from his life in the present (1980s), where he and his wife are traveling to Paris and Rio, trying to negotiate movie rights to Paul's novel, increasingly distressed by Claude's deteriorating mental condition. The parallel scenes run consecutively, so you get a sense of the growing-up struggle between the brothers alongside the current struggle when Claude moves upstate where Paul is trying to start a family. Among the book's many merits is the sad picture it paints of our country's fragmented mental health system. Claude is bounced from a huge, medieval institution downstate to halfway houses in Glens Falls and Hudson Falls. Everywhere, you see the bureaucratic red tape, the chaos, the underpaid staffs, the doctors, some of them well-meaning, most of them ineffective. When you've lost your mind, Claude laments near the end, there's nothing left to count on. Another strong point of the book for me was the evocation of the 50s. If you lived through the time, wherever you were in this country, you'll remember the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the Brooklyn Dodgers, Eddie Fisher, and Vaughn Monroe's "Ghostriders in the Sky" (I hadn't heard that since the year they took the training wheels off my Schwinn). Even if you weren't a baby-boomer or a pre-baby boomer, there's enough rich detail to put you there near Ebbets Field and on the Lower East Side. There are heroes in the book and one absolute villain, Betty, the stepmother who poisons the family dog and beats up on Paul and Claude's father when he's sick and bed-ridden. Even a good novelist would be hard-pressed to create a strangely wicked step-mother like this. Which is not to say the characters aren't complex and fully presented. The parents (the father a doctor, the mother a lawyer) are intelligent and creative and driven (unfortunately in opposite directions). Their marriage fragments, setting up Paul's rebellious stage (he skips school most days, steals a car, solves an equation put to him by a bullying math teacher thusly: "X equals fuck you.") and his brother's descent into paranoia and much worse. Paul recounts his own life, so interesting and varied, it is almost a novel in itself. And he's the most complex character of all, driven by love and guilt, realizing that while he has helped his brother, he has also betrayed him. Is there an assassin in the caretaker, he wonders later in the book? Maybe, but I think it's the caretaker who triumphs. There's a marvelously ambiguous moment of redemption near the end where Paul asks his dying brother, do I get another chance? Do I? replies Claude, meaning, among other things, that he gives his blessing to this memoir, their story, which makes heroes out of them, heroes of the inner struggle. What really drives this book is the author's love and faith in humanity. And the growth of those two things constitute the "inside story" of the book. And if those ain't enough, the memoir itself is a back-up, since it both suggests and exemplifies the healing power of art.
Close to Home Nov 4, 2007
For more than twenty years I have shouldered the responsibility of caring for a younger brother who is afflicted by crippling depression and sometimes delusions. Indeed, caring for him has been a burden on my entire family and frankly a source of personal anger and also shame. From time to time I have sought counsel about our family tragedy, but kind words have not provided much relief. Recently a friend suggested that I read Paul Pines' new book, My Brother's Madness. I stayed up through the night poring through the pages. It is impossible to put this book down, or it was for me. Pines writes at the pace of a gripping thriller and yet his subject is human and wrenching. Anyone would like this book, but for someone like myself, who has lived with mental illness, the book is an indispensable source of wisdom. He's written a great book.