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Therapy [Paperback]

David Lodge
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 May 2002
A successful sitcom writer with plenty of money, a stable marriage, a platonic mistress and a flash car, Laurence ‘Tubby’ Passmore has more reason than most to be happy. Yet neither physiotherapy nor aromatherapy, cognitive-behaviour therapy or acupuncture can cure his puzzling knee pain or his equally inexplicable mid-life angst. As Tubby’s life fragments under the weight of his self-obsession, he embarks – via Kierkegaard, strange beds from Rummidge to Tenerife to Beverly Hills, a fit of literary integrity and memories of his 1950s South London boyhood – on a picaresque quest for his lost contentment, in an ingenious, hilarious and poignant novel of neuroses.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (2 May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140253580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140253580
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 395,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Lodge's novels include Deaf Sentence, Changing Places, Small World, Nice Work, Therapy, Thinks... and Author, Author. He has also written stage plays and screenplays, and several books of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction, Consciousness and the Novel and, most recently, The Year of Henry James. Formerly Professor of English at Birmingham University, David now writes full-time. He continues to live in Birmingham.

Product Description


"Full of delights... His view of our neuroses is sane, intelligent and amused" (John Mortimer Sunday Times)

"Energetic, comic...a highly ingenious games-board of moves and counter-moves" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Lodge remains one of the very best English comic novelists of the post-war era; and Therapy is good for you" (Time Out)

"Takes off on wings of humour and pathos which would not have disgraced Lodge's great hero Dickens... A splendid novel" (Daily Express)

"A real treat...a joy - a sobering joy, but a joy none the less" (Observer) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A highly entertaining novel about a successful sitcom writer's search for his lost contentment. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Monday morning, 15th Feb., 1993. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous yet poignant journey of self-discovery 29 April 2002
By A Customer
Though the comic effects are more subdued than in his previous novels "Changing Places", "Small World" and "Nice Work", David Lodge provides us with a very readable, and often poignant account of a man's journey to greater self-awareness.
TV sitcom scriptwriter Tubby Passmore is beset by ailments afflicting both body and soul. Recurring knee pains lead to physioterapy while a general lack of well-being, coupled with dwindling self-esteem, point him in the direction of aromatherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.
The journal he is encouraged to keep by his psychiatrist forms the basis of the novel, in which the passage of Tubby's life from his humble South London origins is recounted as he attempts to extricate himself from the angst that has engulfed him. Along the way he develops an obsession with Kierkegaard. We are given much information about the Danish philosopher's own life as Tubby sees in it clear parallels to his own. Kirkegaard becomes his spiritual therapist as he attempts to confront ennui and dread and overcome his existentialist dilemma.
The book is suffused with the sort of finely etched humourous detail about contemporary English life that Lodge conveys masterly. Familiar themes re-occur: a Roman Catholic upbringing in the 1950s, class divisions, plus the tensions between metropolitan and provincial life. The characters are extremely well drawn and the writing excellent. The novel will appeal in particular to anyone middle-aged who, when afflicted by the mounting dissatisfactions of the advancing years, has sought to regain lost contentment, whether real or imaginary. That includes most of us over 40 I imagine!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars is the journey the best bit? 28 Jan 2006
By A Customer
‘Therapy’ – a book I returned to reread remembering that it dealt interestingly with middle aged Angst; I found parts 1 and 2 rather hard going because there was so much negativity amongst the comedy – which fits of course with ‘Tubby’ Passmore’s fascinations with Kierkegaard. If you are looking for comfort then hold out for the 3rd part where he goes to find his Catholic childhood sweetheart, when the climate turns sunny in more ways than one.
In Part 1 he is ‘angsting’ generally about life, the universe and everything and trying out a range of therapies to deal with what his physoitherpaist calls‘Internal Derangement of the Knee’- IDK or 'I Don't Know'. A wealthy sitcom writer (is it really so well remunerated a profession as suggested?) he feels pride in his work but this is in danger because of a departing actress and a dangerous clause in his contract. He recognises guiltily that he doesn’t always listen to his wife Sally but believes his marriage it in good shape and the end of the part comes with the shocking announcement:
‘Sally just came into my study to tell me she wants a separation. She says she told me earlier this evening, over supper, but I wasn’t listening. I listened this time, but I still can’t take it in.’
Part 2 recounts, written as in the words of people he has been interacting with, Tubby’s frantic search to get himself back on track through sex, trying to reverse past choices and find salvation through identifying himself with Kierkegaard, including the philosopher’s strange failure at romance when he rejected his fiancée in spite of being obsessively in love with her for the rest of his life.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Therapy - a therapeutic read 28 April 2003
Some books make me want to tell everyone how good they are, which is why I'm writing this review. 'Therapy' combines a page-turning story with the kind of sharp observations of daily life that made me laugh with recognition.
Laurence - Tubby - is a wealthy, successful television scriptwriter with a happy marriage and family life, a beautiful family home plus flat in London, friends, security, and the car of his dreams. He also has a crippling condition which defies diagnosis and cure, and which he calls IDK - 'Internal Derangement of the Knee' or 'I Don't Know'. This condition seems symptomatic of a mysterious Internal Derangement of his Life as he approaches his late-fifties, which expresses itself in various forms, such as the Low Frustration Tolerance which gives rise to many hilarious episodes as he meets with stupid notices, out-of-order escalators, barriers that come down just as he gets to them, and the many absurdities and paradoxes of life at the end of the twentieth century. His attempts to understand his condition take him on journeys across the Atlantic and through Europe, as well as philosophical journeys through the works of Kirkegaard and his constant reference to dictionaries and encyclopaedias.
David Lodge's fascination with the craft of novel-writing shows in the surprising twists and turns of the novel, as Laurence tells his own story from different angles, exploring his derangements. In the end, having tried every therapeutic approach from surgery to cognitive behavioural therapy, acupuncture to physiotherapy, Laurence has to become his own therapist. I would guess that I am not alone in recognising my own derangements in this novel and taking pleasure in finding that this fine novelist has mapped out the territory with breathtaking accuracy and wonderful humour.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars depressing
It was a book-club choice so I will read it to the end but otherwise I would have put it down ages ago.
Published 26 days ago by Edward 171
5.0 out of 5 stars HE HAS DONE IT AGAIN
Some years ago I read David Lodge's Deaf Sentence and was struck by the main character's similar experiences to my own in loosing his hearing, retiring and feeling a little bit... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alexander Bryce
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheerful but ultimately disposable
This is the first Lodge I have completed; have always had some sort of an aversion to articulate but voluminous middle-aged British narrators whose own navel gazing drowns every... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sunny
5.0 out of 5 stars Still reading this - I can't put it down.
This was the choice for my reading group this month, and I absolutely love it. The author was previously unknown to me and i will be seeking out his other books. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tricia
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny
The central character is very plausible and you enjoy his journey. He is so hypochondriacal you both laugh out loud and feel sorry for him at the same time.
Published 5 months ago by Bluebell
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, the brilliant David Lodge
Possibly more popular with male readers, Lodge writes effortlessly about middle-aged people living their various lives. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Pickhandle
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant layered story of middle age
Wonderful on many levels. First, it is a compelling story about middle age "panic of closing doors" (as German renders the mid-life crisis), with a poignant look back at innocence... Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read
The main character here is looking for answers and takes a journey to his past to find them. I love this book and have read it several times. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Preston
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape Me Never!
David Lodge

There are always strong autobiographical strains in Lodge's fiction, so much so that the conflation of author and character bemuses and might... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. D. James
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and full of insights
This novel is different from many of David Lodge's earlier works as, in them, the characters are sound emotionally but with external problems (often concerning issues of birth... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Doc Barbara
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