From a Safe Distance

Suicide is Not the End of the Story

Born in Henley-on-Thames, Julia Bishop studied languages at Exeter University and qualified as a teacher at Leicester University. Recently she gained an MA in Philosophy with the Open University. This is her first novel.

After his sister Abbie's suicide, Newman rediscovers her unpublished manuscript, forgotten in his loft. Considering publication he decides to write an introduction to the novel, whose main character is Vee, a teacher. Vee was previously in love with Max, a psychiatrist, but the relationship was short-lived. Childhood nightmares about her long-dead Aunt Mary's mental illness lead Vee to create a "door" in her mind to shut her out. But Aunt Mary's door is not enough to withstand a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, which ends Vee's teaching career. Some time later Vee gets a job at Squaremile, a centre for disabled people, but she soon realises that stigma is not just confined to job applications. Once, when she was a teacher, she was believed and trusted. Now, suffering from bipolar disorder, she is doubted and bullied. Vee meets Max again, but this time as his patient. Max is unable to prevent Vee's suicide, and feels intolerable guilt, in part because of his earlier relationship with her. Max hopes to find answers in Vee's novel, a copy of which she gave him at their last appointment before her suicide. Max, and his wife Helen, who works at Squaremile, are shocked to read of how Vee and some of the residents there have been treated. They investigate the allegations of bullying and neglect and prepare a report, presenting it at a meeting in the boardroom at Squaremile, attended by the chief executive officer of the centre. The atmosphere is tense, particularly as both Max and Helen have health problems, and because of attempts by Sandra, the chief bully at Squaremile, to sabotage their efforts to unmask her. However, as the story reaches its climax, it is Abbie who will have the last word.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-898595-70-0
Paperback Price: £9.99 / $14.99
Release Date: March 2016
Page Extent / Format: 256 pp. / 216 x 138 mm
Illustrated: No


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