Monday, 26 October 2015

Ann Diamond's review

Review by Ann Diamond, 19 October 2015 on Goodreads, 4 stars out of five.

INSECTUAL The Secret of the Black Butterfly.

I've read INSECTUAL at various stages as I was involved in editing it beginning about ten years ago. I'm very glad to see it finally appear in print. It has all the qualities other reviewers have mentioned: strong, vivid writing; a fast-moving story that begins in Nazi Germany during the war years, moves to the Belgian Congo in the early sixties and another particularly bloody war, then comes to rest in Montreal where the narrator enters therapy with a brilliant psychotherapist who helps her retrieve childhood incest memories and unfreeze her considerable artistic talent. (Writing is just one of Barbara Sala's gift - she's also a well-respected "naive" painter.)

I haven't read the current version of INSECTUAL -- a brilliant title that I believe her granddaughter contributed to the project. I'm a fan of Barbara's writing (and painting) but we came to loggerheads when she revised the book, back in about 2010. I was in love with the earlier version - a masterpiece of dramatic irony with a darker subtext than the current one - in fact I thought it really had "bestseller" potential as a portrait of a woman caught in the throes of romantic obsession to the point of extreme-self-deception. If this version is disturbing, the earlier one was at times terrifying in its exploration of a shattered female psyche, almost (but not quite) rescued and redeemed by art.......

Friday, 16 October 2015

Part 1,10

“It feels like the “Devil””
The Gynecologist

Part 1 Chapter 10

He is the daemon who sits very tall on her shoulder. He knows nobody can see him, because he rules in another dimension. To the human eye he is invisible, but to the human heart he is very painful. I, as a painter, however, can make him visible. He represents a vibration of great unhappiness and confusion and my main character was much too young to understand this feeling when it arose for the first time.  So she called it “the devil”. To my reader I want to say that there is no devil in this story. It is a feeling.


The daemon has a strong grip on her and his hands form a knot over her chest.  The folded hands resemble a flower. No light can penetrate to reach Maya’s hungry soul. “Insectual” is Maya’s journey to discover the meaning of “the devil” feeling. This will be revealed to you at the end.


The daemon doesn’t want the flower to unfold. He would have less control over the situation. Can the gyno help? The gyno in his white cloak cannot hear the daemon through his stethoscope and therefore the daemon does not exist. So the doctor tells Maya she is crazy. Can her future husband help her? Lorenzo with his pipe belching smoke into the environment cannot either.


At that time in the 1960s I was reading Rachel Carson’s Book “Silent Spring.”  She foresaw a Spring  without the songs of birds.


It is difficult for me, the painter, to analyze my own images. They are mostly the work of my unconscious. Not questioning them, I give them life on paper. And now I give them meaning through words.  Thanks for reading them.  And maybe your eyes see something completely different again. This is ok as well. Let me know.