Mandi Martin Forget all you know, for all you know might well be false.
That is how is often seems to asylum worker James Grey as he tends to the patients abandoned to Oculus Mentis, an austere asylum lost to the world. His day to day quite literally forgettable.
Slowly the world around him starts to change. Plagued by lucid dreams, a haunting drawing and visions of a pleading female he feels his mind is dissolving.
Aided by the enigmatic Silas and silent Marianne he seeks to solve the mysteries that are tormenting him.
Favourite Things About The Main Protagonist
When it comes to my favourite things about my main protagonist, in this case; James Grey, it is quite hard to answer.
I like all of my characters, including those less pleasant, for different reasons, they are after all a part of me.
The first thing that springs to mind is his compassion. He is trapped in a world of woeful treatment and surroundings that would take whatever sanity one possesses. Despite that he is able to hold on to his heart and still care for people who others long since gave up on.
He simply sees people as people, despite their quirks and difficulties. After all, we aren’t here to judge others.
I tried to think back to when I was on a psychiatric unit, being bounced between there and the main hospital, for over six months. The staff were putting up with a great deal of stress and strain and seeing the worst in life more than the best.
Yet they were always so caring and comforting. Without them I wouldn’t have managed to last.
I took inspiration from that and I believe in some ways it shows in James.
In the Victorian era the mentally ill were the dregs of society and the asylums were little more than a dumping ground or a place for experimental ‘treatment’.
Staff maybe started with the best intentions but slowly many of them were worn down, becoming bitter and distant and not seeing the patients as people anymore.
The name ‘Bedlam’ was an apt name for an asylum.
The staff James works around are very similar to that but James himself has maintained his caring nature even though it is tested greatly as well as his own sanity. Many believed that getting too close to the afflicted would mean they ‘caught’ their deficiencies, a mind-set that made conditions worse.
He also has an inner strength that might not seem obvious but when one reads the entire book they will see what I mean. Life is fragile and is very easy to give up but he holds onto it, even though there would be many an occasion where it would be simple to cut those narrow strands that tie us here.
I think he finds solace in the fact he has at least two people he can confide in, despite them not being able to solve what bothers him they can still offer an ear to listen and to accept that small aid is strength in itself.
Consequently he has to rely on himself, a hard ask and a struggle when one is conflicted and fearful.
Compassion and strength are two things I admire in anyone and that stretches to fictional characters also. They are important traits that I strive for in my own life and I hope others do as well. I like to try and get across that people are different but that doesn’t mean we cannot like each other, appreciate each other’s uniqueness and I hope that comes across.
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: March 2020