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The Man Who Walked Away: Book summary and reviews of The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey

The Man Who Walked Away

by Maud Casey

The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey X
The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey
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Book Summary

In a trance-like state, Albert walks - from Bordeaux to Poitiers, from Chaumont to Macon, and farther afield to Turkey, Austria, Russia - all over Europe. When he walks, he is called a vagrant, a mad man. He is chased out of towns and villages, ridiculed and imprisoned. When the reverie of his walking ends, he's left wondering where he is, with no memory of how he got there. His past exists only in fleeting images.

Loosely based on the case history of Albert Dadas, a psychiatric patient in the hospital of St. André in Bordeaux in the nineteenth century, The Man Who Walked Away imagines Albert's wanderings and the anguish that caused him to seek treatment with a doctor who would create a diagnosis for him, a narrative for his pain.

In a time when mental health diagnosis is still as much art as science, Maud Casey takes us back to its tentative beginnings and offers us an intimate relationship between one doctor and his patient as, together, they attempt to reassemble a lost life. Through Albert she gives us a portrait of a man untethered from place and time who, in spite of himself, kept setting out, again and again, in search of wonder and astonishment.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Casey's narrative provokes a host of intriguing questions beyond those the Doctor raises, and Casey is wise enough as an author not to provide easy answers." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Casey's haunting third novel (after Genealogy) is both unconventional and engaging." - Publishers Weekly

"Pay attention, this lovely novel urges. As Maud Casey spins this mysteriously urgent tale of patient and doctor entwining, her quicksilver prose yields one astonishing image after another: each moment fleetingly beautiful, each character here - here! - and nowhere else. As this novel is like nothing else. Reading it is a singularly moving experience." - Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Archangel

"Only a writer as brilliant as Maud Casey could write a novel as understated, urgent, and mysterious as The Man Who Walked Away." - Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia

"Casey's novel, with its accounts of the asylum's correctives to the anguish of erasure - walks in nature and 'the song of Nurse Anne's voice' - is an axe to the ice-encased heart, musically wrought, deeply affecting, wise and consolatory." - Christine Schutt, author of Prosperous Friends

"Wildly original fiction, with a particular melancholy magic." - Joan Silber, author of Ideas of Heaven and The Size of the World

This information about The Man Who Walked Away was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Maud Casey

Maud Casey is the author of two novels, The Shape of Things to Come, a New York Times Notable, and Genealogy, and a collection of stories, Drastic. She is the recipient of the Calvino Prize and has received fellowships from the Fundación Valparaiso, Hawthornden International Writers Retreat, Château de Lavigny, and the Passa Porta residency at Villa Hellebosch. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches at the University of Maryland and in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Warren Wilson.

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