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When Charles And Tony S Mother Dies The Estranged Brothers Must Struggle To Pick Up The Pieces, Particularly So Given That One Of Them Is Mentally Challenged And The Other Bitter About His Place Within The Family The Conflict Is Drawn Out Over Materialistic Issues, But There Are Other Underlying Problems Which Go To The Heart Of What It Means To Be Part Of A Family Which, In One Way Or Another Has Cast One AsidePrejudice, Misconceptions And The Human Condition In All Forms Feature In This Contemporary Drama Revolving Around A Group Of People Who Attend The Subsequent Funeral At The British South Coast Meet Flamboyant Gardener Charles, Loner Simon, Selfless Psychic Elaine, Narcissistic Body Builder Edgar, Martha And Her Version Of Unconditional Love And Many Others As They Try To Deal With The Event And Its Aftermath

10 thoughts on “Conditions

  1. says:

    The Human ConditionAuthor Christoph Fischer has done it again with his latest book, Conditions As the reader has come to expect from him, the story is excellent, the dialogue snappy, cast of characters wholly believable, the pages turning at a rate of knots.What Christoph Fischer also does so well is to not shy away from writing of difficult subjects, and delving into humanity For this, he is to be applauded, for handing such subjects with amazing gentleness and insight doubly so Conditions is just as well done, and tugs at the heart strings just as much as the beautiful tale, Time To Let Go.Conditions follows two estranged brothers, Tony and Charles, who are brought into each others orbits again after the death of their mother Fear, resentment, prejudice and a money grabbing wife make for a gripping, intriguing tale, never mind the fact that Charles struggles with mental health issues and is generally not believed.Charles friends are equally well written, their conversations throwing light on things that he says have happened, all the while reacting to his changes in mood.I found Conditions extremely touching, and without wishing to let cats out of various bags, I loved how the author gave Charles his dignity.Another fabulous tale from Christoph Fischer, in fact I really hope there might be a sequel having been offered such a tantalising glimpse into Tony and Charles lives.

  2. says:

    This is the third book by Christoph Fischer that I have read The Healer and recently The Gamblers were both works of such quality that I had to go back to the well for There is one very special thing about all of his books and that is his very unique voice Here is a writer who knows who he is and I have to say I am a big fan There is style and flair in even the simplest of passages In extensive passages of dialogue, he maintains the quality and texture of real conversation without missing a beat His narrative is direct, unhindered by useless distraction bringing you straight to the heart of the matter always This is a difficult subject to write about Mental illness is something that effects so many people and the delicate nondescript way in which he skirts around the actual illness in question is in itself a masterstroke Despite the great differences in plot and story line with all three of the books I have read by this author, there is a commonality not just in the voice as I mentioned already but in theme The title of this book Conditions is relevant to me in this sense, that while it relates to this particular story, it has a relevance in that The Healer and The Gamblers also deal with conditions Christoph Fisher writes so wonderfully on the human condition despite my dislike for the term, it best describes him for me I have now read three great books form one of my favourite authors Absolutely five stars

  3. says:

    Christopher Fischer creates a cast of emotionally charged quirky characters to pull us into a very well crafted and complex tale on accepting the human condition.Brothers Tony and Charles have never been close At best they have been distant housemates Tony, the oldest son, as a teen is a well rounded, gifted athlete, who has dreams of becoming a professional football soccer player His parents focus their time and funds helping their other child, Charles He has a condition He s bi polar.Caught up in a world of blaming, as time passes, Tony perceives Charles as the cause for all that goes wrong in his life.Eventually, with the death of their mother their father long since dead the brothers must deal with her funeral What would normally be an emotionally fraught experience becomes highly charged, when illusions disintegrate and truths must be faced.Charles is supported by friends who have their own conditions, whether it be fear of letting the past go, fear of loss of control, fear of being hurt again Tony is supported by his wife and friends, who see Charles through the lens he has painted.A remarkably brilliant book Beyond a compelling and consuming tale, Mr Fischer s writing flows beautifully Writers would be wise to study his sentence structure One of a handful of books that I ve read recently where I see and feel what is happening, versus being told what is occurring A personal nod to Mr Fischer for having Charles be a gifted landscape designer As a Landscape Architect, I have an added passion for books that bring design into them.

  4. says:

    We try, as humans, living in an information society, to organize our lives via thought processes, norms, culture and physical parameters It just doesn t always happen Our world, society and even family are diverse entities that guarantee tough sailing at varying points in our lives At the blink of an eye, things change and meaning and bond of family is challenged Conditions is the story of Tony and Charles, two very differently wired brothers who are experiencing life after the death of their mother In Christoph Fischer s newest novel, Conditions it becomes quite clear that things are never going to be the same Per his usual style, the author pulls us in with masterful description of emerging change, trauma and chaos while continuing to challenge us with the what if and maybe of the evolving story Fischer s style is reflective, pensive, and gripping The characters are well drawn, visual and salient The research is intact and well done and the author superbly highlights the uniqueness of man, family, and life An amazing read, am always looking forward to this writer s books.

  5. says:

    What a remarkable story The mental condition of one family member has an effect on all family members I love the way the author uses meeting people through social media to introduce the fact that we all have conditions Though some are given names and so put people in a special class, others are just as real Charles has found friends by realizing everyone has issues and does not let them interfere with his opinions about them His brother Tony has lived his life resentful of Charles and the way his mother doted on him A death and all is brought into the open Well written and lovingly offered to us.

  6. says:

    Very well written and detailed Fischer doesn t come across as promoting awareness of mental health that s what I thought it was going to be but he does show, through his characters, the uphill struggle of a sufferer and other people s prejudices.My first impression was that Charles and Tony reminded me of Rainman However, I changed this view as the story progressed.He handles the complexity of his characters beautifully We all, as humans, have flaws and Fischer makes us realise this If anyone who reads this has a judgemental trait I hope it teaches them compassion.I m also pretty sure that anyone who reads Conditions will be able to empathise with one of the characters.

  7. says:

    If someone asked me to write a book like this, honestly, I d go running for the hills It s one of the hardest things to do No special effects No big explosions No fast paced action and chapters ending with our hero a hair s breadth from death Though you might think I m talking about the movies, formula fiction novels too rely on an A story that s fast moving and knuckle biting with a B story romance that honestly is just there so the reader can catch his breath before returning to the excitement Let s not forget playing for the hugest possible stakes the world in the balance I can t tell you why it works, or rather why it continues to work, as the formulas are as old as storytelling and you d think people would just get tired of them So take away all of that and what have you Usually the term literary comes to mind That s what we call books that don t really fit any categories, any genres, to which it s just hard to put a label of any kind on If there s still genius buried in them there pages we might throw a Pulitzer at it in hopes we can still talk someone into reading it, because, after all, genius is a terrible thing to waste Often times these books are a tedious chore to read they feel like homework, as some way of cleansing the soul, or paying for the sins of that high fat diet loaded with chocolates and rich deserts that constitutes our traditional reading fare Every once in a while we have to choke down a healthy salad Maybe the reason I don t write these things is I can barely stand to read them But every once in a while someone comes along to challenge all my notions about literature That, for one, maybe it can be literary Christoph Fischer is one of those people In Conditions, he puts a bunch of people together who haven t seen each other in ages and for good reason they didn t really get along when they did That set up alone reminded me of The Big Chill, one of my favorite movies in this class with William Hurt and Jeff Goldblum Even there, the director didn t have the courage to do a film like this without a whole lot of humor to take the edge off Christoph has the braveness of heart to stick with straight drama, as opposed to comedy drama Though there s no denying the comic appeal of these characters and how they play off of one another, they certainly don t intend to be funny.With little than sharp, poignant characters that leap off the page and dialogue every bit as punchy, the author manages to keep your attention riveted and keep you turning the pages Not that there isn t a solid plot here there is, it s just not what s driving the story the characters are Christoph brings the drama of life into sharp focus in ways that everyday life just can t surrounded by the same people day in and day out, after a while those relationships lose their sheen and we fail to see not only the humor and wonder in life, but just fail to really see one another at all It s like we re seeing our own lives through a fish bowl Writers in this class help us to really engage with life again they help us to snap out of the trance we ve slipped into that s rather like driving through thick fog with the high beams on, scattering the light even and reducing near zero visibility to absolute zero That distance Conditions gives us on ourselves, simultaneously gives us a renewed connection with our life purpose, with what we re really about, and with those around us that has needed renewing for a long time Even after the family has gathered together for the funeral, the author continues to weave an intricate web of time around the present moment as he takes us in and out of each of their lives at pivotal moments to show how things really come together as they do The crises forced on them is of course created by the characters themselves and their inability to escape their own natures, to gain the kind of perspective that might drive higher consciousness, and spiritual renewal in the absence of crisis And even with several crises pending at once, you wonder if even that is enough to awaken these people so they can see at once how insufferable and how beautiful they are If you re a student of psychology and of the human condition, and you re looking for real literary magic, as opposed to Hollywood razzmatazz magic that is smoke and mirrors and illusions than the real thing, give Conditions a read You won t regret it I began this one the way I begin most literary affairs, with a silent prayer of, please don t hurt me followed by please don t waste my time I have so little of it I was delighted when my silent prayers were answered.

  8. says:

    Christoph Fischer has become one of my favorite authors I was first attracted to his Three Nations Trilogy because of the subject matter it deals with war and Central European families, which is something I have an affinity for But his last two books A Time To Let Go and now Conditions are a bit of a departure for him and I m happy to say that I enjoy his contemporary dramas as much as his historical ones This author writes about families in a lucid and complex manner He doesn t over sentimentalize, and as a result I find my own emotions coming to the surface Sometimes in ways that surprise me In Conditions, CF takes on mental illness among other conditions I found myself being charitable to Charles, who suffers bipolar disorder, than I have been with people in my own life who are afflicted with various conditions I attribute that to the talent of this author Highly, highly recommended.

  9. says:

    Things aren t always as they seemWe humans seem to love to name things, sort and tuck them neatly into categories I get it It s a way for a busy, crowded brain to sift through and assimilate massive amounts of information in a reasonable amount of time Can you imagine a world where every situation or event is taken on the face of it as a completely new and original one It s a kind of shorthand we use, an important and very basic capacity that lays the foundation for language and history and science and just getting through the day When it comes to people, we like to do the same thing Despite that admonition not to judge a book by its cover, we often do just that Peg people based on a superficial or incomplete understanding of who they are For humans, labels, at best, convey something narrow and delimited about a particular aspect of an individual s nature or status That shorthand strategy may not serve us quite so well All of this is a bit of a windup in order to place Christoph Fischer s latest book, Conditions, in context It s an unassuming book that takes a thoughtful and intimate look at some very weighty subjects One of those slice of life stories, it captures interactions among a group of family and friends brought together by a key life event In this case the death of the mother to Charles and Tony The two brothers, struggling toward middle age, are central figures in the book They couldn t be different, on the face of it Tony is the successful responsible older brother, with a job, a mortgage, a wife and children Charles, on the other hand, is a single man with a serious and persistent mental illness who, at times, is unable to even care for himself Fischer s book asks us to beware, however, of pigeon holing these two brothers and tagging one as normal and successful and the other as, well, less If labels are less than ideal when it comes to dealing with people, they re even trickier when using them as a way to make sense out of the life and experience of persons with mental health conditions Fischer doesn t go there in his book He sets aside the matter of naming Charles disorder, leaves it open ended I think that makes the man s condition a far interesting less a mental patient and a human being facing his own limitations and trying to understand those of others Like his brother One of the big hurdles someone with a severe mental illness faces is the social distance created by difference By avoiding the use of labels, Fischer closes the social distance between the two brothers, especially when some of Tony s life struggles are revealed On some level he and his brother are the same two men looking for ways to deal with the problems of living.The book provides glimpses into the challenges placed upon a person with a mental illness challenges that impinge on friends and family, too The helpless feeling those around Charles experience, at times, is all too familiar to anyone with a friend or family member like Charles The brief descriptions of Charles encounters with the mental health system speak for themselves After thirty years in the social and behavioral sciences, it s a disappointment to me that we know so little, and fail to use what we do know, to support individuals with mental illness Charles, for all the challenges of his condition, is a lucky man In most any big city, or big city jail, it s not hard to find with those like Charles who are less fortunate Bravo to Christoph Fischer for writing this gently provocative book This book is recommended for readers who enjoy family sagas and stories about humans trying to do their best to figure it all out.

  10. says:

    This story grabbed my interest from the start There is an excellent cast of mostly well portrayed characters, and good pacing kept me guessing about them I was persuaded to think deeply about these people and about our own tendency towards pigeon holing, often based on misconceptions and prejudice We are all guilty of it to some extent and it is good to be reminded in a non judgmental way that we should care for each other, whatever our faults.I mentally removed a half star from the rating for several reasons The book is about two brothers but we spend relatively little time with Tony so don t really get to know him before he starts seeing Charles in a different light Tony s wife, Clare, is very one dimensional, which could have been avoided if we d spent time with the couple I also felt the story was incomplete as the two brothers did not actually make the promised reconciliation, or even start on that process It would perhaps benefit from another chapter in which they sit down together and start getting to know each other properly Throughout the book I felt this lack of balance between the two brothers stories whilst I realise the whole situation is generated by Charles problems, it reaches this point because of Tony s abiding feelings of anger and rejection that he has carried since childhood Overall, though, I had to round the rating up rather than down Charles is a fascinating character, both difficult and rewarding to have as a friend This story gives a good insight into what it means to have this kind of mental health issue It was lovely to see him gradually revealed as someone with a strong moral compass.That said, why did it lose a star from my rating It seems that the days of a publishing house taking pride in what they publish are over It used to be the case that a publisher would assign editors and proof readers to assist the author with producing a polished final copy This version is marred by a multitude of typos and small grammatical errors scattered over every single page There is even an invented word irresponsive unresponsive There were two editors and the publisher involved, never mind the author himself is it too much to expect at least one of them to notice this final draft needs its pre publication polish A run through with a spelling and grammar checker would have found most of the errors so there is no excuse for such irritating sloppiness.