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.
‘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
‘’A memoir of remarkable eloquence and quiet candour … The human dimension is writ large in The Green Bell, as is psychiatry’s at times catastrophic failure to consider it.’