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Agoraphobia plays a central role...

Posted Oct 22 2008 6:16pm

Agoraphobia plays a central role in new novel.
Tish Cohen's new novel Town House may be of interest to folks who end up here on PANIC! From a review:

"Jack Madigan is the 36-year-old son of an Ozzy Osborne-like rocker who died a surreal death onstage involving a recalcitrant reptile. Jack has awakened from the rubble of a life on the road in a shambling mess of a four-storey Boston town house, bequeathed to him by his father ... with an acute, and apparently incurable, case of agoraphobia. But the money is running out, and the town house has grown decrepit from neglect.... Tish Cohen has written an original portrait of a pathetic man that is at times sardonically comic and humanly poignant. ... Cohen's Jack Madigan is a three-dimensional, albeit anomalous, lost soul of our modern, twisted, fractured society."
From the author's blog:
In some ways, my agoraphobic Town House protagonist, Jack Madigan, and I could not be more different. He’s the son of a rock star and a groupie. I’m the daughter of a medical laboratory owner and an artist. He’s passive aggressive with his therapist. I couldn’t appreciate mine more. He lives in my favorite neighborhood on earth - Beacon Hill in Boston - in a four-storey century town home with a groaning dumbwaiter and 12-foot ceilings on a street with cobblestone sidewalks. Sigh. I don’t.

Where we really get similar is, sadly, in our panic attacks. Jack’s started much earlier than mine - he was in his early twenties...

...my own panic attacks didn’t start until I had kids and, for the first time in my life, was petrified of my own mortality...

The panicky episodes came and went, vanishing for a few years then bubbling up again at inopportune times, such as when I was in the passing lane on the highway or atop a dressage horse in front of spectators. Like Jack, each and every time, I was convinced the panic attacks were going to kill me. Unlike Jack, I never experienced dizziness. Nor did I lock myself indoors. My every instinct recommended it, but with two young boys came a life that pulled me outside, day after day.
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