Alicia Western is the following: Twenty years old. A brilliant mathematician at the University of Chicago. And a paranoid schizophrenic who does not want to talk about her brother, Bobby.
Told entirely through the transcripts of Alicia’s psychiatric sessions, Stella Maris is a searching, profoundly moving companion to The Passenger.
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1972, Black River Falls, Wisconsin: Alicia Western, twenty years old, with forty thousand dollars in a plastic bag, admits herself to the hospital. A doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, Alicia has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and she does not want to talk about her brother, Bobby. Instead, she contemplates the nature of madness, the human insistence on one common experience of the world; she recalls a childhood where, by the age of seven, her own grandmother feared for her; she surveys the intersection of physics and philosophy; and she introduces her cohorts, her chimeras, the hallucinations that only she can see. All the while, she grieves for Bobby, not quite dead, not quite hers.