The Green Bell
by Paula Keogh
It’s 1972 in Canberra. Michael Dransfield is being treated for a drug addiction; Paula Keogh is delusional and grief-stricken. They meet in a psychiatric unit of the Canberra Hospital and instantly fall in love.
Paula recovers a self that she thought was lost; Michael, a radical poet, is caught up in a rush of creative energy and writes poems that become The Second Month of Spring. Together, they plan for ‘a wedding, marriage, kids – the whole trip’. But outside the hospital walls, madness, grief and drugs challenge their luminous dream. Can their love survive?
The Green Bell is a lyrical and profoundly moving story about love and madness. It explores the ways that extreme experience can change us: expose our terrors and open us to ecstasy for the sake of a truer life, a reconciliation with who we are. Ultimately, the memoir reveals itself to be a hymn to life. A requiem for lost friends. A coming of age story that takes a lifetime.
‘Paula Keogh gives voice to her lifelong struggle with mental illness in this very personal story … Ultimately, this is a book of hope as she finds inner strength, peace, and fulfilment.’
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘A moving distillation of pain and joy, The Green Bell is quite simply one of the most beautifully written and wisest memoirs I have ever read.’
‘The book is uplifting and wonderfully hopeful – survival, the overcoming of suffering and the poetry of the ordinary, more everyday world, are its true driving forces.’
‘A brave and beautiful book. In 1972, Paula Keogh fell in love with Michael Dransfield, the most gifted poet of his generation. Her portrait of him – and the brief period they spent together – recaptures that time with remarkable freshness and insight.’
RODNEY HALL, two-time winner of the Miles Franklin
‘A courageous account of madness. Paula Keogh has brilliantly captured its creative exhilaration, illumination, grief and loss. She takes us on a deeply human search for integrity and meaning.’
KATE RICHARDS, author of Madness: A Memoir