"The Guardian" (UK)
"An exuberant pageant of literary fiction and a celebration of the possibilities of the novel."
A novel is a story transmitted from the novelist to the reader. It offers distraction, entertainment, and an opportunity to unwind or focus. But it can also be something more powerful a way to learn about how to live. Read at the right moment in your life, a novel can quite literally change it.
"The Novel Cure "is a reminder of that power. To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote. Bibliotherapy does not discriminate between pains of the body and pains of the head (or heart). Aware that you ve been cowardly? Pick up "To Kill a Mockingbird "for an injection of courage. Experiencing a sudden, acute fear of death? Read "One Hundred Years of" "Solitude "for some perspective on the larger cycle of life. Nervous about throwing a dinner party? Ali Smith's "There but for The "will convince you that yours could never go "that "wrong. Whatever your condition, the prescription is simple: a novel (or two), to be read at regular intervals and in nice long chunks until you finish. Some treatments will lead to a complete cure. Others will offer solace, showing that you re not the first to experience these emotions. "The Novel Cure "is also peppered with useful lists and sidebars recommending the best novels to read when you re stuck in traffic or can t fall asleep, the most important novels to read during every decade of life, and many more.
Brilliant in concept and deeply satisfying in execution, "The Novel Cure "belongs on everyone's bookshelf and in every medicine cabinet. It will make even the most well-read fiction aficionado pick up a novel he's never heard of, and see familiar ones with new eyes. Mostly, it will reaffirm literature's ability to distract and transport, to resonate and reassure, to change the way we see the world and our place in it.
"Astute and often amusing . . . a charming addition to any library. Time spent leafing through its pages is inspiring - even therapeutic."
About the Author
Susan Elderkin and Ella Berthoud started giving novels to each other when they met as English students at Cambridge twenty-five years ago. A novelist, travel writer, writing teacher, and fiction reviewer for the "Financial Times," Elderkin now lives in Connecticut with her husband and son. Berthoud lives in Sussex with her husband and three girls and paints in a hut in her back garden. They have run a bibliotherapy service out of The School of Life in London since 2008, prescribing books to clients all around the world.