Circles Around the Sun: In Search of a Lost Brother

Molly McCloskey, Author
Molly McCloskey. Overlook, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4683-0025-3
Reviewed on: 08/13/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-241-95216-0
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-1-4683-0708-5
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-1-84488-269-4
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4683-0392-6
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4683-0391-9
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Novelist McCloskey never really got to know her brother, Mike, 14 years her senior, before schizophrenia had taken hold of him, and decides to learn about his life before and everything he lost after in her clear-eyed and heartbreaking story. As she looks back on the charmed adolescence and promise Mike once had—adored by his parents, smart, good-looking and a basketball superstar who won a scholarship to Duke—and the wreckage from an illness that left him unmoored and unrecognizable, she charts her own unraveling. A heavy drinking habit dating back to high school and a crippling and growing fear that she is going the way of her brother leads to her own descent into depression and panic attacks. “My mind felt porous, as though the filters were disintegrating.” Living in rural Ireland where there’s little beyond two pubs and in the grip of a virulent paranoia, she is unable to be on her own or to even go to the store for bread. She finally quits drinking in her early 30s and feels profound relief. The depression and anxiety don’t disappear entirely, but the moments when they return don’t bring the same unending devastation. Although Mike, in his 50s and living in a group home, still feels “very, very present” to his sister, her tender tribute doesn’t bring about a relationship with him. And her tender tribute nevertheless brings healing, and grants her and her family a new way to connect to their son and brother. (Oct.)
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