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Windows on the Abyss by K. M. Hartmann
  

Windows on the Abyss

Literary Fiction   Family Drama   eBook Favourites   
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This powerful and thought-provoking debut novel records the agonising breakdown, triggered by his mother’s death, of a mind suddenly confronted by a tragedy that is, for the most part, of its own making. Exploring the breakdown via two voices - one, emotionally very close to the person suffering the breakdown but cut off from him, and the other, the sufferer himself - and interlacing poetry and objective views from current scientific thinking give the book a unique perspective.

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Synopsis

Windows on the Abyss by K. M. Hartmann

The death of George's mother triggers in him guilt-riddled memories of the breakup of his marriage and his subsequent neglect of both wife and mother. He relates in a polyphony of voices the build-up to a series of breakdowns and his eventual confinement in a clinic. These voices are interleaved with the voice of his estranged wife, Amanda. The voices echo off each other, revealing their lives to be so intertwined that they must reunite after George has recovered. The reunion is, however, short-lived. George is again stranded with guilt-riddled memories that refuse to fade. George attempts to understand his extreme states of mind not on Freud's by now creaky couch, but rather in terms of current ideas in neurobiology and quantum physics. During the meanderings of his mind, he touches also upon the ultimate questions of existence. He attempts at the same time to find, through poetry, a form that will accommodate the mess that's in his head.

Reviews

'There is much to admire in the writing: the immediacy of the images, the ability to 'nail'
a particular feeling or perception with a single phrase and the convincing portrayal of extreme emotional states. The combined influence of scientific thinking and poetry produce an intriguing cocktail.' -- James Pusey

'A powerful and thought-provoking book, hugely ambitious in terms of both intellectual content and characterisation.' -- Joel Stickley, author of ‘100 Ways to Write Badly Well’

About the Author

K. M. Hartmann

Kurt M. Hartmann was born in Hungary and educated in South Africa and the UK. He is a physicist and a former consultant to the German government on technological matters. He lives in the Munich area. Windows on the Abyss is his first novel.

Below is a Q&A with this author.

1. What can you tell us about your new book, Windows on the Abyss?
The book records the agonising breakdown of a mind suddenly confronted by a tragedy that is, for the most part, of its own making. The breakdown is recorded as a cascade of confused and contradictory thoughts raging through this mind and terminating in violent emotional outbursts.

2. Why did you write your book?
The book sets out to relate authentic experiences to, in this way, achieve a deeper appreciation and understanding of these experiences.

3. How is it different from other books?
Most books dealing with the topic of mental breakdown leave off after giving a subjective description of the breakdown. Windows on the Abyss, in contrast, augments a highly subjective description with a more objective or rational analysis, based on currently accepted scientific paradigms. The rational analysis is effortlessly incorporated into the storyline.

A further difference to other works consists in the use of a poetic dimension to accommodate features of the breakdown which still remain (and perhaps always will) outside the confines of rational analysis.

Yet another unusual feature is the independent telling of relevant events by two persons, the one, emotionally very close to the person suffering the breakdown but cut off from him, and the other, the sufferer himself. This offers two perspectives on the happenings, as the presence of two vanishing points in a sketch of a cityscape widens the panorama.

4. Why should a reader buy it?
Considering the contemporary social setting within which the story unfolds, a reader will enjoy a more comprehensive description than usual, of a topic that has never lost its actuality.

5. You have received critical acclaim for 'nailing a feeling or perception', so is this something you have consciously tried to achieve or is it a natural talent?
I usually have an instinctive feel as to what I want to say and how I want to say it but it does take time before I hit on the ‘best’ choice and combination of words.

6. Your influences are poetry and science, so how do you get these together so effectively in your writing?
I let poetry speak where science must leave off. Science can usually deal with questions about ‘how’ things occur. Many of the big questions around our existence – those asking for the ‘why’ of things – can, at present, be more effectively accommodated within a poetic framework.

7. What is next for you?
Fascinating me at the moment is what Einstein and Kafka might have talked about had they met. They could have done so, since both lived in Prague and in Berlin in the early years of the 20th Century. I plan to embed this core idea within a love-tragedy that unfolds in the Berlin of the Cold War era, where Kafka’s Great Wall of China has metamorphosed into the Berlin Wall and where a message sent across this wall, even if in accordance with Einstein’s theories, reaches its destination as rarely as did a message sent by the Emperor of China, reach a remote corner of his Empire.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th March 2013

Author

K. M. Hartmann

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Publisher

Matador an imprint of Troubador Publishing

Format

Paperback
256 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781780884615

Publisher Profile

Matador an imprint of Troubador Publishing is an imprint of Matador

logo Matador has been offering authors a high quality self-publishing service since 1999. Part of Troubador Publishing Ltd, Matador offers a wide range of services aimed at publishing, marketing and distributing books and ebooks to a high standard, be that via Print On Demand (POD) or through traditional bookshop distribution. Matador has deliberately established itself at the quality end of the self-publishing market. We work in partnership with our authors, most of whom publish with us as they are serious about their self-publishing, wanting a high quality book or a real chance at getting their work distributed and read. As a result, we are the UK's most widely recommended self-publishing service. 'Matador is a highly reputable partnership publisher offering an author the best chance of self-publishing success in the UK.' Mick Rooney, Editor of The Independent Publishing Magazine

Publisher's Website

www.troubador.co.uk/matador...

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