Thursday, May 28, 2009

"The Temple Guardian"

Because the subject matter is about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and the Tampa Bay Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies, T-BIPS, supports a network of low fee - pro bono therapy for family members of Afghani and Iraqi soldiers and veterans, called The Veterans Family Initiative, VFI) and because it was written by Charles Larsen, a long time colleague of mine at the Tampa Bay Psychoanalytic Society, and perhaps because it is set in FLorida, a mutual colleague of mine and the author's sent me a description of the novel "The Temple Guardian." Here is our mutual colleague's description:

The Temple Guardian, by Charles Larsen, is an action packed literary novel available from

“The Temple Guardian,” delves into the consequences, including ripple effects, of warring upon several people. A Haiku precedes each chapter.

The male protagonist is Michael Stark, age 55, a Vietnam combat veteran who has struggled with his demons for many years. His female opposite is Norma Jennings, a nurse who has been impacted upon by her former husband’s service in the First Gulf War.

Almost all of the contemporary action takes place in South Florida, and in a small fictional town near Steinhatchee. Explosive action and sensual explorations are juxtaposed with philosophical, tranquil, and lyrical experiences. Dreams, flashbacks, and reflections provide insight into the way events, past and present, weave themselves into our lives.

It is a novel about the process of emerging from the crippling effects of post traumatic stress, a struggle that most of us engage in while attempting to build our lives into meaningful wholes. There are apparent movements toward acceptance and resolution, then setbacks in the current world, which threaten to reverse any apparent progress. There are near Platonic dialogues between Michael Stark and a Catholic priest (also a Vietnam veteran), as well as between Michael and a Vietnamese man who once held him captive under horrific conditions. There is vivid action in the flashbacks and memories of both Michael and Norma Jennings. Contemporary action takes place in North Florida, the Everglades (where Michael’s 17 year old daughter is assaulted by drug dealing Vietnam veterans), and in the Florida Keys.

“The Temple Guardian” is a tale of struggle, of overcoming, and also failing. In the end there is a resolution of sorts to the angst felt by Michael and Norma, namely a sense of hope.