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A Peaceful, Easy Feeling
by Philip R. Sullivan
About this Book
His childhood scarred by trauma, Patrick Sayer moved to rural Maine as a young man in search of a simple life close to nature. But now the paper-mill workers have gone on strike, and as money runs low, tempers run high. Patrick is unwittingly snared in the deadly struggle and becomes terrified when his own life is threatened by he knows not whom nor why. He seeks help from those around him, but finds in the end that he needs to achieve his own salvation.
About the Author
A Peaceful, Easy Feeling is Philip R. Sullivan's third novel. In addition to his private practice, Doctor Sullivan has taught clinical psychiatry and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School for many years. He lives in a countrified Massachusetts setting where he has also raised African sheep.
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While none of us can look at either the sun or death with a steady eye, Doctor Sullivan's stories often focus, at least in part, on how people deal with the knowledge that their lifetime is limited, and with their accompanying fear of death. In his first novel, The Same Lonely Songs, he explored this fear in relation to an external threat from a jealous ex-husband. In his second novel, Coming Home Again, he dealt with the fear of death arising from an internal threat posed by a spreading malignancy. In his latest novel, A Peaceful, Easy Feeling, he returns once again to the issue of this fundamental fear when evoked by external threat, this time, however, from an eerily unknown source.
In a recent interview, we asked Doctor Sullivan why the fear of death is so prominent in his stories. Here's part of his response: "Like all creatures, great and small, we humans have a built-in longing for life, a longing so intense that it ordinarily holds us in its thrall despite our most severe adversities. But only we among our fellow creatures experience the fear of death directly, because only we have clear knowledge that our lives must someday end. It's this built-in longing for life, set against our knowledge of death, that's at the very foundation of our existential angst. For the most part, we wisely bury our naked dread beneath covering layers of daily concern. But let an acute threat to life arise, and this angst will rise horrifically to the surface."
He added: "That's what happens to Patrick Sayer, the new novel's protagonist, and he shares his story with us just as it happened. Starkly. This allows us to get a bit closer to dealing with our own bedrock fearthough thankfully, not too close."
A Peaceful, Easy Feeling was published by Foremost Press. It can be ordered through local bookstores and at ForemostPress.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.
202 pp, $12.97