Written as transgressive fiction, this story is now shedding light on the experiences of schizophrenics in a language that the non-sufferer can understand.
Malvern, UK (PRWEB UK) 2 July 2014
“Jonathan Harnisch is a legend in the world of mental health education and advocacy and a Twitter phenomenon with over 177,000 followers,” Knabel explains at Queensland Mental Health. “He is someone I have got to know really well in the Twittersphere. When I found out he was launching a new book, I had to get in touch and find out more about it.”
Knabel is a prominent mental health advocate in Australia. His eagerness to grill Harnisch, a fellow advocate for schizoaffective disorder sufferers, is palpable. Harnisch’s completion of his first novel has caused chatter on the Bush Telegraph, but Knabel was the first Down Under to nab an interview with the author. Knabel’s involvement with the issues surrounding mental illness began when his wife was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. However, Harnisch has personal experience with the condition, and as an author with schizophrenia, he is ideally suited to produce an illuminating study of the disorder.
When people face situations that are difficult, challenging, or frightening, they say they “put on a brave face” to get through them. Ben Schrieber, Harnisch’s protagonist, went one step further when faced with obstacles in his life and put on a whole other person. Georgie Gust was Ben’s braver champion. However, as always happens in cases of schizophrenia, this alter ego put more effort into asserting his identity than fighting in Ben’s corner. Georgie is an invisible friend who never went away, eventually asserting himself as an independent being, albeit occupying Ben’s body.
It has to be noted that although Ben has a tendency to hide, he too asserted his right to his identity. He did not fade away and assume the name and attitude of Georgie Gust. This resulted in these two separate men living parallel lives in the same physical existence.
Although the novel is a work of fiction, Harnisch admits that much of the book stands as a written account of his own experiences. Written as transgressive fiction, this story is now shedding light on the experiences of schizophrenics in a language that the non-sufferer can understand. The novel’s entertaining and accessible style makes it a “must read” for anyone interested in psychiatric thrillers and for those Australians who would like to learn more about dissociative disorders.
Harnisch is a sufferer of comorbid schizoaffective spectrum condition, and this was the inspiration for novel’s plot. He has exploited the insights brought to him by his condition to become an accomplished mental health advocate, film and TV producer, musician, and fine artist.