In the aftermath of a violent incident and near-death experience, Sarah Lange is plagued by heavenly voices and dogged by a desire to return “home.” Frightened by her desire to terminate her existence on earth, she checks into a trauma center in Malibu, California, and meets Dr. David Sutton, an intellectual, scientist, reductionist, and someone who believes in nothing beyond his immediate experience. David’s world is as divorced from mystery and magic as Sarah’s is alive with and animated by it. Their sessions open up a dialogue about the separation of worlds—one easily defined and explained and one unknowable and waiting on the other side of human experience. Even as his faith in his profession fades, David struggles to bring his disturbed patient back to the real world. In a desperate effort to define herself, Sarah “escapes,” and David must decide how far he is willing to go to save a patient, and ultimately, himself.
|Publisher:||Open Road Integrated Media LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Barbara Hall is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and television producer. She is the creator and producer of the Emmy-nominated television series Joan of Arcadia. Her TV writing and producing credits include Northern Exposure , Chicago Hope , and Judging Amy. She is the author of four young adult novels, including Skeeball and the Secret of the Universe (1987, Orchard Press), Dixie Storms (1990, HBJ), Fool’s Hill (1992, Bantam), and the mystery House Across the Cove (1995, Bantam). Her previous novels include A Better Place (1992), Close to Home (1997), and A Summons to New Orleans , all published by Simon & Schuster.Barbara Hall lives in Pacific Palisades, California, with her daughter Faith.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Great story, but I felt soooooo disappointed in the end. It sucked. No one should write an unfufilling ending like this!
“Charisma” begins with its main character, Sarah Lange, sizing up her shrink—he’s insecure about his physicality, a middle child—and reading him like a book. However, she doesn’t just have amazing perception—she literally hears voices in her head, spirit guides, who give her information about people whether she wants it or not. She can also dissociate from her body when need be. Is she crazy, or hearing the voices of angels, or something else entirely? Those are the thoughts her therapist, David, struggles with once he begins to treat her at the mental health facility after she checks herself in to avoid giving in to what she calls the Big No: suicide. The book is both Sarah’s journey to accepting herself and accepting life, as well as the impact her growing relationship with David has with both him and her. The chapters alternate perspective so the reader grows close to and invested in each character, and since a lot of the action takes place via dialogue you begin to feel as if you know Sarah and David as real people. I found “Charisma” and well-written—Sarah’s story and her special gift give tension to the story and push you forward, while David—arguably with a much more “normal” life—gives the novel a great deal of heart, especially as he deals with his own struggles. I would recommend “Charisma” to those who enjoy novels of self-discovery, novels with thoughtful, slow-paced romance, and novels with a little bit of supernatural or fantasy twist that are still very grounded in reality.
Astonishing. Barbara Hall’s ‘Charisma’ is something you won’t forget even days after reading it. Try reading the first page thinking you’re just “browsing a little,” and before long, you’re flipping through the pages like someone obsessed. Because indeed—apart from Hall’s exceptional writing and perfect prosody—‘Charisma’ is perhaps one of the most entertaining, intriguing, and “addictive” books I have read in recent years. And I have read tons of them. ‘Charisma’ is about Sarah Lange and her struggle with the voices in her head. Of course, in a “normal” world, hearing voices isn’t exactly something that people applaud you for—it bears the stigma of mental disorder, and in the South where Sarah grew up, the condition can compel a child to “swallow” it all up and suppress it. Until THAT day—the one day Sarah will never forget—when the dam that holds up the voices breaks down and it becomes an unbearable cacophony of banshee screams. Forced to check in herself into a trauma center in California, Lange meets Dr. David Sutton, the “yang” to her “yin”, her almost exact “also damaged” opposite. What follows is a period of intense interaction between doctor and patient—and a climax—that will drop your jaws and keep it stay there. ‘Charisma’ is a tremendous literary achievement—it is as entertaining as it is intellectually stimulating. It reminds me of some genetic strands of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and even that of Park Chan Wook’s beloved Korean film, ‘I’m a Cyborg, But that’s OK’. Sarah Lange’s acute, sharp wit and keen observation, the way she “scans” the personality of anyone before her that goes beyond the presently obvious—it’s just breath-taking. And I love how Hall fleshed out Dr. Sutton’s emotional arc, from being saddled with the banalities of his own life, to one in which he’s finally gunning for that life-changing redemption. I can’t recommend ‘Charisma’ too highly. I’m betting somebody will turn this into a movie. Hall is an exceptionally talented, seasoned writer, and ‘Charisma’ is just another golden feather in her cap. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to spend a weekend in the bliss of reading something worthwhile. Five stars, this one.