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PP. 122 pages
RRP £8.99

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The Absent Therapist

Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2014
Book of the Year in the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement and Australian Book Review

The Absent Therapist is a book of soundings, a jostle of voices that variously argue, remember, explain, justify, speculate and meander . . . Sons and lovers, wanderers, wonderers, stayers, leavers, readers and believers: ‘The biggest surprise of all is frequently that things and people really are as they seem.’

“The whole book is like someone deeply charismatic and charming daring you not to find them insane. It’s wonderful.”
– Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 

“I was gripped and awed by Will Eaves’s The Absent Therapist, touching, addictive and unlike any other book.’
     – Thomas Adès, TLS 'Books of the Year”

The Absent Therapist is a miniature but infinite novel, and unlike anything I’ve read before. It’s just achingly good.”
– Luke Kennard

“A beautiful meditation on speech and identity.”
– Francis Spufford, Chair of Judges, Goldsmiths Prize

“These are gripping narratives, with intriguing shifts of register, but they are also technically experimental and daring. Each sentence is weighed, poised. The intelligence with which Will Eaves handles language is modest and rare. The absent therapist is the listening reader to whom this compelling book is a fabulous gift.” 
– Patricia Duncker

The Absent Therapist is the strangest and most beguiling fiction Will Eaves, poet and formerly arts editor at The Times Literary Supplement, has written yet. It’s an experimental novella that weaves together a host of vignettes and fragments into an elusive and often disarmingly funny whole ... Eaves writes with effortless fluency and charm, and despite the lack of an overarching narrative, this little book flows like a song. Animated by a Joycean love of words and oddments from the life of the mind, it's a chance for the reader to immerse herself in something extraordinary.” 
Sydney Morning Herald

“The Absent Therapist is a slim book with no single plot, yet the author’s decision to call it a novel seems justified: these confluent streams of consciousness amount to a narrative in prose where every comma is vital for the flow to run as it does. The fluidity with which these miniatures merge puts you in mind of Eaves’ poetry, present in his other novels too, but never in such a distilled form . . . . The voices you hear give the impression of having been selected with some degree of randomness – “a story worth telling”, the author says, can be found where you least expect it – but their arrangement is precise down to the last dropped aitch. There are a plumber and a prince, teachers and hustlers, angry young men and batty old women. The subjects are just as varied and include computers, learning disabilities and “the point of boxer shorts”. Computers, “too connective [and] tyrannically social”, keep cropping up in the novel as one of its themes related to emotions: real, fake, artificial and inborn. There are subtle points on the human condition and the way it is perceived. The narrators don’t pretend to have more emotional baggage than the man in the street, and the author, serving as their amanuensis, doesn’t pretend to know it all either. His recipe for understanding people is: “If you want to know what someone’s like, don’t, do not ask. Leave them be.” This is your only chance to see and hear – overhear, if you are lucky – for yourself.’ 
     – Anna Aslanyan, 3:AM Magazine