A Kind of Magic
A memoir about anxiety, our minds, and optimism in spite of it all
Where do mental illness stories begin?
Anna’s always had too many feelings. Or not enough feelings – she’s never been quite sure. Debilitating panic. Extraordinary melancholy. Paranoia. Ambivalence. Fear. Despair.
From anxious child to terrified parent, mental illness has been a constant. A harsh critic in the big moments – teenage pregnancy, divorce, a dream career, falling in love – and a companion in the small ones – getting to the supermarket, feeding all her cats, remembering which child is which.
But between therapists’ rooms and emergency departments, there’s been a feeling even harder to explain … optimism.
In this sharp-eyed and illuminating memoir, award-winning writer Anna Spargo-Ryan pieces together the relationships between time, mental illness, and our brain as the keeper of our stories. Against the backdrop of her own experience, she interrogates reality, how it can be fractured, and why it’s so hard to put it back together.
Powerfully honest, tender and often funny, A Kind of Magic blends meticulous research with vivid snapshots of the stuff that breaks us, and the magic of finding ourselves again.
The Horne Prize, 2016
Praise for Anna Spargo-Ryan
‘… the writing impels you through the narrative, always vital, often funny. Spargo-Ryan is definitely a writer to watch.’
‘Spargo-Ryan has a rare talent for conveying raw emotion’
The Herald Sun
‘Spargo-Ryan proves again to be a sharp observer of human emotion.’
About the author
Anna Spargo-Ryan is the author of two novels, The Gulf and The Paper House, and an acclaimed non-fiction writer and teacher. She was the inaugural winner of the Horne Prize and is the current Non-fiction Editor at Island Magazine.