David Maine (author); AN AGE OF MADNESS; Red Hen Press (Fiction: Literary) 17.95 ISBN: 9781597092340
Byline: Shawn Syms
To a casual observer, it would seem that Boston psychiatrist Regina Moss is surrounded by chaos and instability all day long but has her own life under complete control. Yet appearances can be deceiving, as David Maine makes clear in his thoughtful and engaging new novel, An Age of Madness.
As it turns out, not unlike many of the disturbed mental patients she counsels daily, Regina struggles under the weight of incredible trauma -- resulting from a family tragedy the author slowly reveals over the course of the book's carefully crafted pages. In her early forties, Regina maintains a crusty and cynical demeanor that makes her seem far older. This uptight persona extends from her professional career into her family life: Her intense estrangement from her college-age daughter, Anna, is traceable to the deaths of both Regina's husband, Walter, and teenaged son, Toby, one night under mysterious circumstances.
While Anna struggles to cope, her mother throws herself into her work. Regina is at her physical and intellectual peak from a long-distance-running regimen and a heavy caseload of jittery psych patients. But she maintains the blockade on her feelings she first erected that fateful evening -- until reluctantly entering into a relationship with Russell, a much younger man. The romance demands an emotional...