Item description for The Treatment & The Cure (Europa Editions) by Peter Kocan...
Overview Len Tarbutt is serving a life sentence for attempted homicide. After a brief period in jail,he is transferred to the maximum-security ward of a mental hospital, where moments of absurdity and anarchy will remind readers of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But The Treatment and its award-winning sequel,The Cure, form a single story that pulses with darker and more disquieting undertones. It is a compelling, disturbing, and often humorous account of one man's fight to survive incarceration.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.3" Width: 5.2" Height: 1" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2008
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 1933372451 ISBN13 9781933372457
Availability 0 units.
More About Peter Kocan
Peter Kocan published his first books of poetry in the mid-seventies while a resident in Morisset Hospital the Criminally Insane following a failed attempt to assassinate a federal politician. Fresh Fields is a fictionalized account of Kocan's youth. He lives in Brisbane, Australia.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Treatment & The Cure (Europa Editions)?
"You feel a wild urge to go up to them and assure them that you're not mentally disturbed or anything like that." Jun 1, 2008
Reminiscent of Ken Kesey's cult classic "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Australian author Peter Kocan's incredible novel "The Treatment and The Cure" is destined to enter the annals of asylum and prison literature. Originally published as two separate novellas, "The Cure" won the 1983 NSW Premier Literary Award for Fiction. Europa Books recently released both titles in one volume.
In 1966 at age 19, Peter Kocan made the headlines when he attempted to assassinate politician Arthur Calwell, federal opposition leader with a sawn-off shotgun. Injuring Calwell, Kocan was subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted for attempted murder. With a sentence of life imprisonment, Kocan first went to Long Bay and then Morisset Psychiatric Hospital.
Based on Kocan's experiences, "The Treatment and The Cure" recreates the cockeyed world inside of an asylum, and Len Tarbutt, a lonely, damaged and confused nineteen-year-old tells the story. Len describes what he sees and what he does in the second person "you" and this creates an interesting, depersonalized sense of numbing distance between the narrator and his experiences. Although many of the incidents described here are harrowing, this is not some whining pity-me diatribe, but a witty, clever, unsentimental and sublimely clear depiction of a system in which those who are supposedly 'normal' manage those judged insane. The inmates are a motley assortment: murderers, depressives, and a peeping Tom. Some of the inmates--drooling zombies--are drugged out of their minds; others are subjected to shock treatment at the behest of the absent-minded Dr. "Electric Ned."
When Len first arrives, the asylum is a total change of pace from the prison he just left--almost too good to be true, but in the maximum-security wing, he soon discovers that medications and shock treatment are to be avoided at all costs. With sadistic, resentful and possibly bored prison employees ready and eager to trigger a trip to Electric Ned, Len realizes that the path to avoiding shock treatment is fraught with traps and rules he doesn't yet understand.
In "The Treatment and The Cure" Kocan manages to inject a lively off-kilter sense of humor on almost every page. For example, in one episode, Len's mother comes to visit. A nice woman, she's completely out of her depth when it comes to dealing with a mental asylum. She meets a Polish inmate named Zurka, and finding him pleasant and charming, she nonchalantly discusses her train journey. Zurka is a brutal ax murderer who went berserk on a train one day, and Len watches Zurka chatting to his mother noting that he feels a "faint worry when the talk is about the train trip. Zurka chopped those people up on a train and you're afraid the subject of trains might be risky. You're also feeling a vague sense of satisfaction to think that you can introduce your visitor to someone who's chopped people up."
Len faces his greatest challenges when he moves out of maximum security. Drawn to poetry and the suffering of long-dead WWI poets, Len navigates through loneliness, despair and depression with a few lifelines thrown by those rare individuals who step in and offer kindness. While some inmates are crushed and destroyed by their experiences in the mental asylum, Len emerges from his deeply troubled cocoon as a mature, thoughtful and triumphant human being with the profound realization that 'mad' is a "word that doesn't mean anything."