By Simon Turner
Key Themes: fiction, autobiography, psychiatry
An eventually uplifting tale of one man’s battle to overcome depression, or ‘The Devil’ as the author calls it. As Kris Kristofferson wrote in one of his most memorable songs:-
‘You see the devil haunts a hungry man,
If you wanna beat him, you have to join him.
I ain’t saying I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing.
Along this rollercoaster of a ride we are introduced to the Gascon version of Arthur Daley, the charismatic ex-paratrooper Pierre Lagaillarde and the Nigerian generals; as well as being involved in la guerre d’Algérie and the War on Terror. We also hear about the numerous health advantages of foie gras and the Gascon way of life, the Planet under Stress, Van Morrison and last but not least the life-saving qualities of both Prozac and landscape.
About the Author
Simon Turner was born in 1948 and lives in Sudbury, Suffolk. He is a former Chartered Surveyor who had, in his own words, ‘a notably undistinguished career in property’. He was also an aubergiste and agent immobilier in France for seven years between 1989 and 1996 until he was overcome by ‘The Devil’. On recovering he did ‘six years penance’ as a Private Hire Driver. His first book ‘The Waiting Game’ was a novel ostensibly based on those experiences but in hindsight he now realizes was more about total mental decomposition. Simon passed away 26 April 2014.
‘I travelled back to England in a total daze. I smelt no sea and saw no sky. I looked into the void and what did I see? Absolute zero. The darkness in my soul obliterated all light. The only thing visible to my bloodshot eyes was debt, debt and more damned debt, dragging me down to the depths of despair. Where had it gone all wrong? I had been born with a silver spoon in my big, ugly mouth, but my Anglo Saxon hubris had long ago disintegrated into a Gallic nemesis. Abject and total failure. There was no future, only a pathetic past. My addled brain worked out with some convoluted logic the simple fact that I was worth plus one and fifty thousand pounds dead but minus twenty five thousand pounds alive. Contrary to popular opinion suicide doesn’t always invalidate a life insurance policy. But of course as I have told you before ad nauseam I was bloody good at the small print when it suited me. However the truth was that I was utterly worthless either way so what the hell.
‘What is hell
Hell is oneself
Hell is alone…’
But I hadn’t even got the guts to confront it there and then. God had called my bluff. It didn’t really matter. It was all so pointless. I was going down, down, down…….’