Hanging with the Elephant
A Story of Love, Loss and Meditation
By Michael Harding
In his new book, Hanging with the Elephant, writer Michael Harding is back in Leitrim in the north-west of Ireland. His wife has left for a six-week trip to Poland and he is alone for the first time since his illness two years earlier. Faced with this time on his own, Harding resolves to examine the threat of depression that is a constant presence in his life and his dependency on his wife, the beloved, since his illness. But, as he attempts to tame the 'elephant' - an Asian metaphor for the unruly mind - he finds himself drawn back to the death of his mother during the summer of 2012.
Written with unflinching honesty, Hanging with the Elephant begins as one man's quest to overcome his demons, but becomes a journey into the depths of the soul, where we are given a glimpse of the one thing that holds us all.
Michael Harding is an author and playwright. His creative chronicle of ordinary life in the Irish midlands is published as a weekly column in The Irish Times. He has written numerous plays for the Abbey Theatre, including Una Pooka, Misogynist and Sour Grapes, and has published three novels, Priest, The Trouble with Sarah Gullion and Bird in the Snow as well as a bestselling memoir, Staring at Lakes, which won three BGE Irish Book awards.
- Other details
- Publication date:
06 Oct 2014
- Page count:
Hachette Books Ireland
A compelling memoir. Absorbing and graced with a deceptive lightness of touch, [Hanging with the Elephant] is clever and brilliantly pieced together. Harding writes like an angel — Sunday Times
The writing is simple...The detail is forensic. The smells, the sounds and the memories of the house and its chatelaine described beautifully and without embellishment, one word following another, perfectly judged and placed, like literary feng shui — Mary McEvoy, Irish Independent
Wonderful ... Like many people who have achieved a great deal, [Harding] cannot recognise his triumphs. This book, like its predecessor, is one of them. — Johny Boyne, Irish Times
Harding is a self-deprecating and winsome writer whose bittersweet musings on middle-age, loneliness and the search for spiritual enlightenment in post-Catholic Ireland are leavened by an incredibly dry and unforced wit. However, it's the sections in which Harding focuses on his relationship with his mother...that Hanging with the Elephant reaches lump-in-throat-inducing levels of poignancy — Metro Herald
Harding hits it out of the park again — RTE Guide