Nineteen-year-old Len Tarbutt is serving a life sentence for attempted murder. Following a brief period in jail, he is transferred to the maximum-security ward of a mental hospital. After many months and countless clinical evaluations, he is finally allowed the promise of release. But freedom isn’t as near as it seems. The machinations of a mental health practice that is nothing less than criminal threatens to overpower him. Reassembling the fragments of his damaged psyche into a healthy wholeness will prove to be a task almost beyond his reach.
This is the story of a young man’s progression from the hells of depression and jail, to the temporary limbo of incarceration, and finally to the imperfect possibility of redemption and recovery. The novel’s ample ensemble of droll characters and moments of absurdity and anarchy will remind readers of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The Treatment and its award-winning sequel, The Cure, presented here as a single story offer a compelling, disturbing, and often humorous account of one man’s fight to survive incarceration and return to a life worth living.
“The writing is spare, compassionate and enlivened by the wry wit of the born storyteller.”—Australian Book Review
“Compelling throughout, tense and intense, [The Cure is] a moving image of a consciousness under siege.”—The Melbourne Age
“Kocan writes with a chilling authority imbued with strong irony and wit.”—Library Journal
Author and poet Peter Kocan (Brisbane, Australia) was born in Newscastle in 1947. Kocan left school at fourteen to work in country New South Wales as a laborer and station-hand, before returning to Sydney, where he gained work as a factory-hand in a dye factory. In 1966, Kocan’s failed attempt to assassinate federal opposition leader Arthur Calwell in Sydney saw him sentenced to life imprisonment. Later that same year Kocan was transferred from Sydney's infamous Long Bay jail to Morisset hospital for the Criminally Insane. Kocan’s first books of poetry, Ceremonies for the lost (1974) and The Other Side of the Fence (1975), were published while he was at Morisset. He was released in 1976 and began rebuilding his life by writing about his experiences. Two autobiographical novellas, The Treatment and The Cure, told of his harrowing life in the asylum. The Cure won the 1983 NSW Premier's Literary Award for Fiction. Kocan lived for many years on the Central Coast of New South Wales, teaching, acting, and writing drama, poetry, and fiction. He gained public recognition for his work and received regular support from the Literary Arts Board of the Australia Council. He graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), and recently obtained a Masters degree. In 2003, Kocan moved to Brisbane, Queensland. Fresh Fields, a fictionalised account of Kocan’s difficult youth, was named a Book of the Year by the Times Literary Supplement.