Coastal Post Online


June 2002

book review- The All Souls' Waiting Room

According to Norman Solomon, nationally-syndicated columnist and author, the new novel by Northern California writer Paki S. Wright, "The All Souls' Waiting Room," is a story "that is at once an audacious send-up and a terribly serious tale, created with unrelenting skill and unflinching memory, to explore how childhood can leave enormous burdens and incalculable strengths."

The novel starts out with a gripping account of a young woman's

attempted suicide. Unfortunately, the incident could easily have been taken from the daily newspaper of almost any American town these days.

Suicide has been deemed a "silent epidemic." This month's National Suicide Awareness Week, May 6-12, 2002, was designed to bring

attention to a national tragedy: 30,000 Americans die by their own hands every year, 12,000 more than those who die from homicide.

Writer Paki Wright unearthed some of these dire statistics when she was doing back-up research for her autobiographical novel, "The All Souls' Waiting Room," which is about a suicidal young woman growing up during the McCarthy era in New York's Greenwich Village. "I was raised as a human guinea pig in a circle of followers of the controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. It was a difficult time for many of us who didn't fit into the social conformity of the nineteen-fifties."

William Herman, Professor of English/Dean of Humanities & The Arts, CUNY, (retired) says of the book, "While doing eminent justice to the realities of her uniquely different childhood, Ms. Wright also manages to pull off a very adroit black comedy about life and death as well as a lampoon of the dead psychoanalysts (Willie) Reich, (Gussie) Jung, and (Shlomo) Freud. In high-spirited, witty and vivid language, 'The All Souls' Waiting Room' sheds light on a dark corner of the history of America's bohemian intelligentsia. A fascinating read."

Paki S. Wright lives in Pt. Reyes, CA. Her work has appeared in books, magazines, and newspapers, including The New York Times Book Review. She is the author of "Patchy Coastal Fog: From Manhattan to (West) Marin in 24 Not-so-easy Stages" and recipient of a 2001 Marin Arts Council individual artist's grant. "The All Souls' Waiting Room," published by First Books Library, is her first novel.



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