An Age of Madness
Dr. Regina Moss has built herself a successful career as a psychiatrist in Boston: she enjoys a lucrative private practice, hefty consultation fees, and a reputation that inspires colleagues and patients alike. Why then, is Regina haunted by her past? Why does her own daughter barely speak to her? What’s the story with her gruff, softhearted husband Walter—and why can’t Regina stop thinking about the lanky new tech on the ward? An Age of Madness peels back the layers of Regina’s psyche in a voice that is brash, bitter, and blackly humorous, laying bare her vulnerabilities while drawing the reader unnervingly close to this memorable heroine. From the author of The Preservationist, which was hailed as “hilarious and illuminating” by The Los Angeles Times Book Review and “pithy and smart” by the New York Post, comes the latest turnabout in a career filled with unexpected surprises. An Age of Madness brings a sharp edge of psychological realism to a story filled with startling revelations and heartrending twists.

An Age of Madness Details

TitleAn Age of Madness
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 1st, 2012
PublisherRed Hen Press
ISBN-139781597092340
Rating
GenreFiction, Psychology

An Age of Madness Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    When I first started this book, what really stood out was how witty the lead character, Regina, a psychiatrist, was in her thoughts. Many of which she does not speak outloud, though there are some she does. I thought from the very beginning was she was using this as a defense mechanism. See she was a psychiatrist so I was thinking in psychiatry speak. This book is very different and extremely innteresting, because it is in essence the unraveling of a psychiatrist's psyche. As the reader learns m When I first started this book, what really stood out was how witty the lead character, Regina, a psychiatrist, was in her thoughts. Many of which she does not speak outloud, though there are some she does. I thought from the very beginning was she was using this as a defense mechanism. See she was a psychiatrist so I was thinking in psychiatry speak. This book is very different and extremely innteresting, because it is in essence the unraveling of a psychiatrist's psyche. As the reader learns more, uncovering Regina's past, we watch as she interprets and reacts to these events. This book also shows how little we actually know about the people we love, that everyone keeps things hidden and everyone reacts to and see the events of a trafgedy differntly. Very well written, also and maybe a bit mean to say but it was entertaining reading about some of the patients in the psychiatric ward. The whole time thinking "there but for the grace of God", well you know the rest. Anyway, I was right about the defense mechanism, I think. Read it and see for yourself.
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  • Tami
    January 1, 1970
    When I started this one, I was struck by what a lousy communicator the main character - a shrink! - is. Gina Moss, who cannot have a successful conversation about the most mundane subject with her daughter, Anna. I thought, this does not bode well. But I simultaneously recognized how good the writing is. Solid. And realized that there's got to be more here, because who creates a psychiatrist protagonist who doesn't believe in communicating unless they have a plan? So I read on.I am very glad I d When I started this one, I was struck by what a lousy communicator the main character - a shrink! - is. Gina Moss, who cannot have a successful conversation about the most mundane subject with her daughter, Anna. I thought, this does not bode well. But I simultaneously recognized how good the writing is. Solid. And realized that there's got to be more here, because who creates a psychiatrist protagonist who doesn't believe in communicating unless they have a plan? So I read on.I am very glad I did. The story is well paced, well written, and despite what looms as a potentially large obstacle (non-communicative shrink) for me, the more I read the more I wanted to read. The author did a great job of creating layers of story, both in the characters themselves and how they interact, and the levels and increments of truth they share.I love a story that creates tension without there having to be a whole lot of action. Dialogue and every day activities I can relate to... that's the stuff.
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  • Mitsy
    January 1, 1970
    Won this! :) Dr. Regina Moss lost her husband and her son. Was it a murder/suicide? Was it an accident? How does a wife, mother and psychiatrist recover from something so profound? Was there something wrong with her son? Her husband? How could she not see? As you read her story, the answers are simply not available. It is not always about having all the correct answers. Life is about healing, letting go while keeping the memories, and moving on despite the loss. There will be good days and bad. Won this! :) Dr. Regina Moss lost her husband and her son. Was it a murder/suicide? Was it an accident? How does a wife, mother and psychiatrist recover from something so profound? Was there something wrong with her son? Her husband? How could she not see? As you read her story, the answers are simply not available. It is not always about having all the correct answers. Life is about healing, letting go while keeping the memories, and moving on despite the loss. There will be good days and bad. Times when, like Regina, you just have to take a break, stop trying so hard....David Maine lets us know Regina on an almost intimate level, her character is so deep. We know her every thought. It is unnerving and uncomfortable to delve into a character like her. I feel as if I know everything about her, yet don't know her at all. How well do we truly know anyone, in life? How well do we know ourselves? Perhaps, like Regina, we just live. We live with the good, bad, and the ugly. God never promised life would be easy. Unnerving! That's the one word to describe An Age Of Madness. It's also beautiful, scary and real. Recommended for all wives and mothers.
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  • Larraine
    January 1, 1970
    How do you cope when you lose your husband, and you're not sure if it was an accident or suicide? Dr. Regina Moss, a successful psychiatrist, self-avowed lousy mouth and, later, lousy doctor, is, first of all, a liar. She lies to the reader, to her daughter and to herself. We learn early on that her husband fell out of a tree house he had built. Her college age daughter, Anna, is having a hard time adjusting to college. She wants to give up economics and do something more creative. Meanwhile, Re How do you cope when you lose your husband, and you're not sure if it was an accident or suicide? Dr. Regina Moss, a successful psychiatrist, self-avowed lousy mouth and, later, lousy doctor, is, first of all, a liar. She lies to the reader, to her daughter and to herself. We learn early on that her husband fell out of a tree house he had built. Her college age daughter, Anna, is having a hard time adjusting to college. She wants to give up economics and do something more creative. Meanwhile, Regina has had a series of - not really lovers - just men who, to put it bluntly, service her sexual needs. The truth behind her clinical detachment - with her patients, her extended family and even her daughter - is incredibly sad with an ending that is ambiguous, not at all definitive. But then, too often, the reasons that people do what they do are, in the end, really ambiguous, aren't they?
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  • Betty Dickie
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing book. Regina Moss is a psychiatrist with an attitude. At the beginning we know she is a widow and that her college freshman daughter is difficult. But as more pieces of the puzzle fall into place it becomes a story of how much do we know about those we love, and can we ever know enough. I don't understand why David Maine is not on everyone's best seller list, or more importantly, freakingly brilliant writer list, but he should be. The man's talent is amazing.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    from publisherRead 7/31/12 - 8/1/135 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best BookPgs: 293Publisher: Red Hen PressRelease Date: Sept 1, 20122012 feels like the year of the grieving spouse/parent in literary fiction.Two of my favorite reads from earlier this year remain Amelia Gray's Threats and Jac Jemc's My Only Wife. Additionally, I have just started reading Jonathan Evison's The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, which so far has all the makings of a favorite as well. All three of these bo from publisherRead 7/31/12 - 8/1/135 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best BookPgs: 293Publisher: Red Hen PressRelease Date: Sept 1, 20122012 feels like the year of the grieving spouse/parent in literary fiction.Two of my favorite reads from earlier this year remain Amelia Gray's Threats and Jac Jemc's My Only Wife. Additionally, I have just started reading Jonathan Evison's The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, which so far has all the makings of a favorite as well. All three of these books contain male protagonists who deal with grief and loss (a wife in Amelia and Jac's case, children in Jonathan's) in their own, unique, and potentially crazy ways.In David Maine's sixth novel, An Age of Madness, (upcoming from Red Hen Press) I found myself revisiting the grief and loss theme again, only this time it's from a female point of view. A female psychiatrist, to be exact.Told in first person present, Regina Moss introduces herself as someone Freud would call a lousy mother. Overbearing and emotionally distant. Perhaps it's a good thing her job is diagnosing mental disorders and not, say, in marriage or guidance counseling. Her rough bedside manner and thick professional skin, however, might not be solely a product of her work environment. Sure, working with crazies must take its toll on you after awhile. But we get the feeling really early on that Regina's got some personal issues she hasn't been able to work herself through just yet. She's been protecting herself, and us, from some nasty skeletons in her closet. And now, it would appear the bones behind the door are begging to be let out and the walls she's built up around them are starting to crumble right before our eyes.It certainly doesn't help that her college-aged daughter is having a hard time while away at school, informing Regina that she's started seeing a shrink. Withdrawn and stubborn, just like her mother, she's pushing Regina away, which only reignites the ugliness and fear that Regina's been trying to keep bottled up.Let me be clear. Regina Moss is a liar. She lies to us, she lies to her daughter, she lies to those with whom she works, but much more devastatingly, she lies to herself. Through the brilliance of David Maine and his impeccable timing, we act as witnesses as Regina slowly and painfully comes to terms with the awful truth of what happened to her husband and teenage son all those years ago.Like a child who refuses to confess to a horrible, shameful sin, Regina shares the truth in fits and starts. Little by little, things are brought out into the light. Testing the waters, she watches reactions and waits before dusting more dirt off the truth. And just when you think she's laid it all out, that she's finally come clean and started to deal with things, there's more. Much more.I've always been a big fan of David's writing. I love his biblical fiction, I got a kick out of his rompy B-movie novel, and I enjoyed his jump into sci-fi. I like how he reinvents himself with every new book that comes out, as though he is breaking molds and laying new ground.Wherever David Maine's writing takes him, this little lit-groupie is sure to follow!To see this review with all its hyperlinks: http://thenextbestbookblog.blogspot.c...
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  • Carin
    January 1, 1970
    This was a tricky book. The narrator is extremely unreliable, and you don't really see that coming, as she is a psychiatrist, a profession well-respected for their honesty and ability to see things as they are and see though people's subterfuges.I don't want to give away too much (and unlike the back cover copy, I am not going to intentionally mislead you in order to not give away a spoiler. Don't read that copy. It's bad in that you will think you're about to read a very different kind of book. This was a tricky book. The narrator is extremely unreliable, and you don't really see that coming, as she is a psychiatrist, a profession well-respected for their honesty and ability to see things as they are and see though people's subterfuges.I don't want to give away too much (and unlike the back cover copy, I am not going to intentionally mislead you in order to not give away a spoiler. Don't read that copy. It's bad in that you will think you're about to read a very different kind of book.) Regina and her daughter Anna are grieving a terrible tragedy in their past, and neither is doing it well. Regina has thrown herself into work at the mental hospital, and Anna is acting out and flunking college. They seem to both hate each other, even though each other is all they have. They each blame the other both for their parts in not foreseeing the tragedy and for their terrible relationship with each other.Meanwhile Regina starts dating a younger man from work. She deals with her parents and her in-laws. And she worries fruitlessly about Anna who doesn't want her help and in fact rebels against it pretty vociferously.I was worried about a male author writing a convincing female lead, and I think Mr.Maine has done a great job with that. And while I normally don't like unreliable narrators, I understand why he did it, and I think he pulled it off very well. It's also believable why Regina would not tell us the whole story and why she's even trying to hide the truth from herself. But in the end, it was hard to like this book because it was so darn depressing. Now, I am not one of those people who thinks every book should be filled with sunshine and roses and that any tragedy in a book is awful - in fact I think the opposite, that without some kind of difficulty there isn't much of a plot so there must be something to overcome. But this book was just so relentlessly sad. And neither Regina or Anna was very likable in my opinion. Now, I also don't have to like the characters but in a book like this, I think you do want to root for them, especially is it is primarily a character study without much plot to speak of. In the end, while it's very well-written and even masterfully laid out, it was just too much of a bummer for me. Which makes me sad because I liked Mr. Maine's previous book that I read very much. It was however good for discussion at my book club, except that as no one identified with Regina or Anna, no one argued for either of their actions. But there are a lot of fascinating topics brought up and a lot of interesting issues for discussion.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    This book was more than just a bit irritating. I am fine with an unreliable first person account of the happenings of their lives, but I am not so fine with - well..., what I told you isn't true, I have mislead you, ops, so let me tell you an entirely different version of events. I also was annoyed by having to read parts of the book as if it were a play instead of a novel. The daughter is so completely rude that I didn't want to hear her voice ever again. However the mystery of why the daughter This book was more than just a bit irritating. I am fine with an unreliable first person account of the happenings of their lives, but I am not so fine with - well..., what I told you isn't true, I have mislead you, ops, so let me tell you an entirely different version of events. I also was annoyed by having to read parts of the book as if it were a play instead of a novel. The daughter is so completely rude that I didn't want to hear her voice ever again. However the mystery of why the daughter is so rude might be the most interesting part of the book. The book ends rather abruptly but it was time for it to be over. I choose this book because of its high ratings. Why do I do that?! I enjoyed the secondary stories about her patients within the book more than the primary story. In the end I guess the whole book read false to me. The story did move along and I did keep on reading so I gave it a 2 star instead of a 1. SPOILER!!SPOILER!!First the husband / father committed suicide, then we are told the father killed his son and then committed suicide, then the author tells us that's not the truth she has misleads us, the reader. Now she tells us that the son killed the father and then the son committed suicide. But then the reality is she doesn't know the truth until her daughter tells it to her and it was partly an accident and partly suicide, and then to top it off she tells us that her son was totally mad and she never saw it.... Really!? Never saw it?! Okay so she feels guilty for not being around enough and not attentive and aware as much as she should have been, but your son is over in the corner babbling words of nonsense and you don't know that there is a problem? And you are a psychiatrist? A uneducated stranger would have know your son was mad. Come on!
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  • Amelia
    January 1, 1970
    I have loved David Maine's writing since I first read Fallen a few years back. So, when I found out that he had a new book, I had to read it. What I loved most about An Age of Madness was the voice of the main character, Regina. She's quick and sardonic. I am always impressed when writers can so authentically write characters of opposite genders than their own. I think of Wally Lamb's Dolores in She's Come Undone. Another thing I loved about An Age of Madness was the absolutely fascinating narra I have loved David Maine's writing since I first read Fallen a few years back. So, when I found out that he had a new book, I had to read it. What I loved most about An Age of Madness was the voice of the main character, Regina. She's quick and sardonic. I am always impressed when writers can so authentically write characters of opposite genders than their own. I think of Wally Lamb's Dolores in She's Come Undone. Another thing I loved about An Age of Madness was the absolutely fascinating narrative structure of this story. I won't give away any spoilers, because the best part was reading this book without knowing what was coming around the corner. It's one of the best books I've read in ages!
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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    This book is fascinating. The character, a psychiatrist, reveals more and more about her painful past as she continues through her life, working with patients, meeting an attractive man, and fighting with her daughter. The secrets she keeps are astounding. I should have given it 5 stars for the gripping story alone, but Regina did annoy and frustrate me so much throughout, I removed a star for that. Dumb, but she pissed me off.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    Maine creates a unique and intriguing perspective in the first person viewpoint of his protagonist. it can be hard to figure her out, which propels your interest in her story. At times depressing and confounding, but I like how Maine plays with memories and the different ways people so close can experience the same things.
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  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    L's 5* review
  • Bobbi Radford
    January 1, 1970
    I just won this book!!!!
  • Tony Laplume
    January 1, 1970
    David Maine, from the moment I first read him, struck me as a literary genius. I suspect it's because most of what he's written to date has been biblical fiction that more people haven't apparently come to this same conclusion. Other than Monster, 1959, An Age of Madness is the first chance most readers have to get in on the act. Actually, since Monster is a story nostalgic for old horror movies, the traditionally literary tale of Madness really is the first opportunity. And Maine absolutely sei David Maine, from the moment I first read him, struck me as a literary genius. I suspect it's because most of what he's written to date has been biblical fiction that more people haven't apparently come to this same conclusion. Other than Monster, 1959, An Age of Madness is the first chance most readers have to get in on the act. Actually, since Monster is a story nostalgic for old horror movies, the traditionally literary tale of Madness really is the first opportunity. And Maine absolutely seizes it.Like all his stories it's about lives in isolation, where we fail to tell each other what's really important, and it ruins everything. Except this time, there's a happy ending. The main character is a psychiatrist, and yet her life has been defined by a literally unspeakable (for her) tragedy that she's spent years suppressing, to the point where she's compounded the problem that originally led to that moment, and seems utterly incapable of realizing it ("physician, heal thyself!"), until she meets someone who challenges all her assumptions.Regina Moss defined her early life by her lack of choices when she got pregnant in college, choosing to keep the baby and marry the guy. She instantly regretted these decisions, but could never admit it to herself, much less the damage she did to her family by continuing to press forward with a life that never had room for them, a self-centered one that caused everyone else to question themselves, and yet she never did, not even when the unspeakable happened.Since the story is told from Regina's point of view, with smart little breaks in the narrative as she processes events and attempts to rationalize her behavior directly to the reader, it's part of Maine's approach to engage and challenge the reader, too. It's absolutely worth it. Because this is a process for Regina, too, it allows the reader to constantly meditate on what they're experiencing, and maybe even think about their own life.It's brilliant, accessible, and to this point, as I said, the easiest way to understand the greatness of David Maine. Read this. Recommend it to friends. Read more of his work. And maybe become a better person in the process. Isn't that the point of great fiction?
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  • Bonnie Brody
    January 1, 1970
    Regina Moss is a psychiatrist with plenty of issues of her own. Her daughter, Anna, erratically speaks with her and when she does, little information about her life is forthcoming. Anna is a student at a small Vermont college and has had problems fitting in. She is majoring in economics but wants to change majors to something a bit more 'creative'.Regina has a lot of secrets. Her son and husband died in a tragic accident. They fell (or one pushed the other) from a treehouse in their yard. Anna h Regina Moss is a psychiatrist with plenty of issues of her own. Her daughter, Anna, erratically speaks with her and when she does, little information about her life is forthcoming. Anna is a student at a small Vermont college and has had problems fitting in. She is majoring in economics but wants to change majors to something a bit more 'creative'.Regina has a lot of secrets. Her son and husband died in a tragic accident. They fell (or one pushed the other) from a treehouse in their yard. Anna has been after Regina for years to have the treehouse cut down but Regina is dawdling about this. It is a big deal for Anna. Anna feels like Regina has been an absentee mother since the accident and has turned to her grandparents more and more for love and nurturing.Regina, 42 years old, has a big crush on Russell, a psychiatric aide on the unit Regina works on, a unit for involuntarily committed patients who are mostly impoverished. Russell is 12 years Regina's junior and wants to buy the restaurant he works in which is primarily an ice cream shop.The novel goes back and forth from the present to the past. We learn that Regina got pregnant with Toby, her first child, when she was 18 after knowing Walter, her first husband, only one year. Walter worked as a house-husband while Regina pursued college and then medical school. She was often missing as the children achieved their milestones.Anna is 18 years old and keeps secrets from Regina like her sudden interest in acting. She has chosen not to come home after her freshman year and is spending the summer in Provincetown on Cape Cod where she is playing Desdemona in Othello.Regina's patients play a part in the novel as well. They are prescribed medications with names like uplifterol, euporizine, and mellarone - all with names that speak to better moods and happier days. Regina loves her work. If anything, she uses it as a distraction to avoid her day-to-day life and her memories of Toby's and Walter's deaths.This is a wonderful novel, told in short chapters with much depth. The reader gets to know the characters well and has a lot of empathy for their angst and pain. I highly recommend it.
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    An Age of Madness by David MaineRegina Moss is a successful psychiatrist who is very good at getting to know, talking to and treating her patients. She is less successful in her relationship with her daughter, who has started her first year away at college, and relationships in general. She does very well helping other but really needs help in finding her own way. I have enjoyed David Maine’s past novels which were stories taken from the Old Testament. This is totally different from his other no An Age of Madness by David MaineRegina Moss is a successful psychiatrist who is very good at getting to know, talking to and treating her patients. She is less successful in her relationship with her daughter, who has started her first year away at college, and relationships in general. She does very well helping other but really needs help in finding her own way. I have enjoyed David Maine’s past novels which were stories taken from the Old Testament. This is totally different from his other novels but I think it was time to end the Biblical stories. He has created a very interesting novel about coping with madness and tragedy. I don’t usually like when men attempt to write as women, but he really has done a great job with Regina as well as the other characters.
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  • Kent District Library
    January 1, 1970
    An Age of Madness by David Maine. “Psychiatrist—heal thyself” (and your family, and personal history, as well as all your patients in all their settings—oh—and watch out for those personal relationships!). Dr Regina Moss’ family epitomizes the cliché that psychiatrists have the most messed-up families. This author gradually reveals more and more in this layered, intriguingly well written novel about a family which literally fell apart. I’m glad to say it’s not all a downer, though. A fascinating An Age of Madness by David Maine. “Psychiatrist—heal thyself” (and your family, and personal history, as well as all your patients in all their settings—oh—and watch out for those personal relationships!). Dr Regina Moss’ family epitomizes the cliché that psychiatrists have the most messed-up families. This author gradually reveals more and more in this layered, intriguingly well written novel about a family which literally fell apart. I’m glad to say it’s not all a downer, though. A fascinating read.
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    I read this novel as part of a reading group. We had quite a good discussion about it. The character development is great, as the detail of past events are revealed throughout the novel. The contrasts in communication skills and understanding are prominent and offered much to discuss. The hardest aspect of the book for me was the inability of Regina to understand her own life and person when that was her profession.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    "...the time to properly know someone is when he, or she, is still alive."Regina the scrappy psychiatrist prescribes Impulstill for Tourette's, Liftovec for depression, takes Acceptorals for grief as well as Blisstoril; love it. She is also very funny. Made me afraid to ever talk to a shrink again, hearing about all the things in her head.
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  • Anna van Erven
    January 1, 1970
    What makes Maine's use of first person different is that, 3/4 through the book- you realize that the protagonist, the one you thought was telling you the truth, has been lying to you all this time. This book reminds me of Nabokov's Lolita, and how some narrators choose to play with their audience, pushing and pulling them between truth and lies.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, David. Wow. I have loved each of your books in its own way, but I did not see THIS coming, not at all. I'm not sure whether to say...congratulations? thank you? hope you are ok? Maybe just: please keep it up.
  • Boris Feldman
    January 1, 1970
    A difficult book to review. The plot is extremely clever, with twists one cannot anticipate. The writing is good, though not spectacular. The story line is dark. Very dark.
  • Sonja
    January 1, 1970
    A vast departure from the David Maine novels I really liked. Okay, but not something I'd have to read again or recommend to a friend.
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