Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Psykodrama by Magnus Dahlström

A psychotherapist is treating a patient that has problems to cope after a fire killed her entire family. Initially, the roles of the characters are defined, but eventually the psychotherapist begins to assimilate the patient's characteristics and memories, and projects his own feelings onto her. Does the psychotherapist use his patient for his own means, or is he manipulated? There are elements of guilt, relations of power and the exploiting of it. The story is layered, offering many interpretations throughout the book.

The patient is somehow familiar to the psychotherapist. Whether there is a relation or not, and what it might be, is not clear. Is the patient as innocent as she seems? What about the psychotherapist? When he begins to analyze the session's influence on him and seek guidance from his handler, the story gets ambiguous and the boundaries are fading and melting together. It's difficult to discern the difference between the roles and there is great room for speculation.

Most of the book is dialogue, and the reader never gets to enter the patient's mind. In what way are the two depending on each other? How far is a person willing to go to cope? Is the patient there for a reason unknown? Is she even real? Leaving gaps for the reader to fill in is an interesting stylistic technique, but occasionally the repetitive details about airplaines and other objects, colors and sounds get tedious. The constant moving elevator, the impression of the colour white and the fact that people come there, to be able to cope and move on, gives a possible theological wibe, though. The book is, according to the author himself, somewhat brushy, and the reader is left with many strings to attach with only a few clues. While other books are unfolding, this one gets more fragmented.

The author shows great knowledge in psychology and therapy. The book takes place during therapy sessions. Small variations demand the reader's attention, and the story is evolving and progressing throughout the book, but on the contrary to other books, this gets more and more complicated, with no way of confirming the theories developed by the reader. It's impossible to view the story in a objective light due to it's many psychological dimensions. This is a story with subtle elements, about reality and illusion, recesses of memory and instinct of self-preservation.

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