A literary mystery, set in the 1990s: How did Molly, a promising musician and graduate student, end up in a Baltimore psychiatric hospital calling herself Lucia? Readers unravel the clues as hospital scenes alternate with Molly's journals. A story about memory, trauma, and Lucia Joyce -- the daughter of Irish writer James Joyce, who died in 1982 in the Swiss mental hospital where she'd lived for more than 40 years. For fans of The Secret History and The Archivist, as well as Girl, Interrupted.
PRAISE FOR blue: season
Lombardi’s sprawling novel is an intense, well-observed portrait of a psychiatric patient and the obsessions that slowly undermine her sanity; an engrossing picture of literary sleuthing; a cri de coeur against intimate predations; and a moving depiction of a family torn by ugly secrets. The author’s prose has a vivid immediacy, whether she’s registering intense emotion—“How can you breathe when your lungs keep collapsing on you, like the emphysema of some five-pack-a-day smoker?” wonders Molly after a lover blithely dumps her—or a reflective lyricism. (A patient “walked alongside Molly, speaking softly to her; as they passed under the weeping willow trees Molly’s face was childlike, upturned, her slow movements for once acquiring something resembling grace.”) The result is a very Joycean exploration of a troubled psyche revealed in evocative prose.
A richly textured and deeply felt tale of life and tragedy turned into art.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
As it traces a brilliant young woman’s path into psychosis, blue: season’s supple prose mixes poetry with delirium, finding truth in delusion. The novel as it intensifies carries you deep into madness and then back out.
—Louis B. Jones, author of Radiance and Particles and Luck
I am blown away. A voicing of silent voices on so many levels. The marathon running was such a fascinating counterpoint/thread. Really brilliant. And deserves to be read by others!! Completely away from the deeper truths of the book, it made me realize that academia has changed in the past 20 years more than madhouses.
—David Hyman, Professor of English, Lehman College
…a highly original book, at once scholarly and intimate.
—Eric Jaffe, author of A Curious Madness: An American Combat Psychiatrist,
a Japanese War Crimes Suspect, and an Unsolved Mystery from World War II
Lucia Joyce's sudden fall from celebrated dancer to confinement in a mental asylum confounded her psychiatrist Carl Jung and left an unsolved family mystery. Chris Lombardi's blue: season finds clues in the uncanny terrain shared by James Joyce's radiant genius and his daughter's banished speech diagnosed as schizophrenia. This fascinating, thriller-paced novel avoids both the casual pathologization of madness or its equally misleading romanticization, and reveals the common bond between artistic genius and suffering patient. Readers familiar with Joyce or discovering him for the first time will find in Lombardi's, richly written, intricate book a compassionate exploration of the literary heart of madness, offering new insights into what it means to be human.
—Will Hall, author of Outside Mental Health: Voices and Visions of Madness,
co-founder, Hearing Voices Network USA
Chris Lombardi's fiction has been shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize and won both the Lowell DeJur Prize and the Germaine Griffin Moore Prize at City College of New York. Lombardi's also a veteran journalist and advocate, and author of the nonfiction I Ain't Marching Anymore (New Press, 2020). Lombardi’s fiction has been published in minnesota review, Anything That Moves, Lurch, The Pearl, Living Room, and assorted anthologies, including Hey, Paesan! Lesbians and Gays of Italian Descent. Her journalism has been published by The Nation, Ms. Magazine, Poets & Writers, Women's Enews, ABA Journal, American Book Review and Inside MS. Her novel The Suicide Project was one of 12 finalists for Barbara Kingsolver's Bellwether Prize.