by Alistair Craig McHarg Book : Biography
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An Unforgettable Journey   (2010-01-15)
A review of Alistair McHarg's "Invisible Driving" based solely on its literary merits would yield effusive, well-deserved praise, for everything about it from a technical standpoint is flawless: compelling, fluid storytelling; wildly inventive use of language; beautifully crafted narrative. However, to do so would also be missing its most important, and I believe central, point: to communicate the visceral, raw power and energy of the human psyche, stretched and twisted to its most extreme.
To say that I was moved by Mr. McHarg's memoir of a particularly harrowing Manic-Depressive episode isn't quite right. Stirred, shaken, rattled to the teeth...would all be more accurate. Mr. McHarg's gift for poetry draws you straight into his head with utterly compelling emotional depth and breadth. The chapters alternate between the wildly careening "play-by-play" of his manic episode with narration that provides essential back story as well as a strong framework on which he develops the story of his eventual fall and subsequent recovery. This contrapuntal technique also provides a stark, sharp contrast between his mindset during the episode and the completeness with which his entire being is changed by its end. As the "manic" storyline gains momentum, the author's skill is such that his thought processes subtly begin to make a scary kind of sense, drawing you into his twisted logic even further and leaving you feeling almost like a co-conspirator.
This isn't a story intended to impress, surprise or shock, which for me was a significant part of its appeal. It is told with complete, unvarnished honesty and astonishing fearlessness. You love him, you hate him; you think he's insane, you think he's a genius. And through it all, you're in his grip and you don't want him to let go. It's a journey that's alternately brilliant, savagely funny, heartbreaking, terrifying and inspiring...straight into the maelstrom of madness and back out again, finally, into the light. This one will stay with you for a long time. Get it, fasten your seatbelts, and go "Invisible Driving" with Alistair McHarg. It is a trip you will never, ever forget.
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