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on 22 March 2013
I agree that this book was beautifully written by a very talented writer. The best compliment is that I felt a great Loss when I realised the book had ended - I wanted more of Harding's story. I can really relate to the author as I've just turned 58(Today!!!) and come from a similar background and area of the country as Michael.
Thoroughly recommended.
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on 22 May 2013
From the first encounter with this book (a short extract in the Irish Times), I figured it was a book that just had to be read. And I wasn't wrong. It does have a resonance with Irish men, but then my wife also raved about it, and we have since been rather evangelical about Staring at Lakes, sending copies to family and friends here and abroad, and generally recommending it to anyone who comes within earshot. It follows the author's life and times, and his dealings with depression, religion and love (in no particular order, which is somewhat of a theme, when you read the book yourself!). It would do a disservice to the author and his work to try and do a flip summary in a few lines (the strapline says it better than anything I could muster), nor should anyone subscribe to the whole 'essential reading' or 'this book will change your life' guff. Personally, I don't watch the trailers; I go and see the film. In this case, you can just take a flier on this review if you like. I doubt you will be disappointed. Having said that, I believe this book has nestled atop the bestseller list in Ireland for several weeks now, so maybe we're on to something! Buy it, read it, love it. Then share it.
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on 11 May 2013
I bought this book because I wanted to read a real-life story of someone who had suffered depression and overcame their demons. I had heard Michael Harding being interviewed on the radio and his beautiful, honest statement he made to his future wife when they first met made me want to go and buy the book. Sadly I was very disappointed with the rest of the memoir.

It is undoubtedly well-written but the content is very melancholy and meaningless.

I suppose I expected the protagonist to experience an awakening or splendid enlightenment in the end. Even a simple enlightenment would have sufficed.

Basically I felt worse after reading the memoir. There was absolutely no light relief. Nothing to give the reader hope.

I also felt the writer was rambling and repetitive. The book could have been edited to half the length.
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on 20 March 2013
I feel it took him a very long time to get to know himself. Like a lot of people I feel he was always looking outside himself for answers when all the time the answers were within. Nevertheless enjoyed reading the book.
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on 3 March 2013
I truly enjoyed harding's memoir. I loved his honesty, his articulation of personal vulnerability, his magnificent use of language. It stirred many memories and emotions in me - always a sign that the writer is really engaging with the reader.
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This book is beautifully written by a very talented writer. It gives a lovely insight into a life that is far from dull and it is a wonderful tribute to the healing power of love. While it tells of a loss of faith in the stale teachings of the supernatural, it is a wonderful discovery of faith in what is really important in life. There is humour and pain in this book. I couldn't put it down.
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on 13 May 2013
Set in midlands rural Ireland and all the way to India this story of one man,s life is described in bold, very honest and melancholic language. The story is both strange and depressed and topics are exposed in their raw state. This what keeps you hooked. Basically it's an autobiography of one persons sickness both mental and physical throughout his life.
This hypochondriacal pastime of the Irish is more magnified here than in your wildest dreams.
You will either love it or hate it!
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on 4 June 2015
This book, whilst quite absorbing is also somewhat repetitive; annoyingly the author keeps mentioning certain times in many different chapters. I first saw him perform in Dublin in the play The Field and then heard him speak on Lyric FM, and thought him an interesting character so decided to buy this autobiography. It turns out that he acts and speaks better than he writes!
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on 6 November 2014
This book is a depressing read and i don't say that because it's about depression but because it's so self centred and melancholy
We learn only about the author himself nothing about his wife and family and actually very little about his battle to overcome this disease
Staring at the walls is a better title or staying in bed
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on 22 January 2014
Having seen Michael Harding being interviewed on tv lately, I wanted to know more
about this honest open person, what was his story. He has a style all of his own and
I love it.
Open and Honest are the two words that come to me. I cried with him, giggled at some
parts but above all I totally enjoyed this book.
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