Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

Description Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

Margaret Torrens trades academia for early retirement and the solitude of a cabin in the Oregon mountains. Four months later, she is locked in a ward for the criminally insane undergoing assessment, and a charge of murder is in the air. Pried out of her by an impatient young psychologist, Margaret's story features Jane Farrow--a former student, who showed up at the cabin uninvited with an odd, mute child in tow--and Victor--Margaret's alleged victim, who put his claim on both. As Margaret works to control this narrative of the recent past, she is waylaid by secrets, borne by the ghost of her young husband, lost decades before.

Advance Praise Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

“The psychological drama of Things Too Big to Name plunges us into the mind of Professor Margaret Torrens as her plans for rural retirement unravel and she's forced to confront the life choices she’s made since the death of her musician husband years before. One of her first students, Jane Farrow, appears at her mountain cabin with a strange child and asks to be taken in.  Days later, disruption threatens to explode in violence when Victor Primo barges in looking for them. Molly Tinsley's distinctive braided narrative offers intense story-telling, studded with surprises, that keeps us on edge until the end.”- Merrill Leffler, poet, Mark the Music and publisher, Dryad Press 

 “A prickly but appealing narrator unspools events from her recent—and distant—past.  The plot’s gradual unfolding vibrates with the tension of unwilling confrontation and detonates with a satisfying jolt. A fun and absorbing read; I zoomed through it. - Allyson Booth, Postcards from the Trenches and Reading The Waste Land from the Bottom Up 

 “A recently retired English professor must explain to a Qualified Mental Health Professional the events leading to her arrest and commitment to a mental hospital. The more this brilliant psychological thriller excavates the layers of Margaret's mystery, the more we understand how we all hide parts of ourselves. Molly Tinsley's established talent for narrative and her familiarity with classic literature fold into one of the best novels I've read.”- Sheila Bender, poet and memoirist, A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief.

Read an excerpt

Day 1.

For the record, I am not a violent person, I announced to the empty corridor. All night going over my speech, and I started spilling it before I got in the room.
Behind me, the tight-lipped, tight-permed guard gave one last push, and I was through the doorway, staring at a blank wall. Some trouble catching my breath.
Forced eyes right: pelt of black, garbled hair and fleshy male, young enough to be my son, if I had one. He sat behind a table looking uneasy, but maybe I was projecting.
I flexed a smile. I do not make a practice of intentionally inflicting harm on other living beings, I said. (Voice squeaked.) I’m not counting the occasional pest from the lower orders—insects, arachnids, slugs. They have their world. I think I have the right to remove them from mine.
His dense eyebrows jumped a little, but no return smile. He pointed me to a seat opposite.
I slid into it, delivered my finale: I would like to convey my gratitude to your employers for my private room. However, you might want to reassure whoever
orders that person to disturb me every half hour: if I were going to commit self-harm, I would have done so a long time ago.
He sat there, head bobbing on a wad of neck. Heavier than he should be, candidate for Type II diabetes any minute. I’ve got him to thank for this pen and paper, but if I had, he might have guessed I’ve got my own plans for their use.
Well, he said finally with a startling wink, here we are. He put on the wire-rims hanging on a strap around his neck, and his uneasy dark eyes turned beady, remote, as he followed his puffy fingers down my file, fingernails chewed back halfway to the cuticles. Both chins needed a shave—heavy stubble’s called a half-beard these days, I think, i.e. intentional. Time will tell.
Margaret Torrens, I said to be helpful.
He looked up—another wink. I see you’re a retired English teacher.
Nodding: No need to call me doctor. Just Alec is fine. The corners of his mouth tucked in a dimpled smirk: Is it true double negatives are a no-no? He sat back as if to show off the strip of wrinkled shirt that bulged below the ribbing of his V-neck sweater and above his belt.
Stepping over his joke: It’s kind of you to try to get me to relax, but that’s very difficult under the circumstances.
(Yesterday, outside the courthouse, Lawyer Amanda, coatless and high heels clicking, intercepted my path to a plain white vehicle. Warned, Be careful. Seems this guy, who talks just as fast as she does, is the district attorney’s choice, not hers. Amanda’s a fan of temporary insanity, but says the DA doesn’t believe in it. I’m supposed to trust her.)
Alec leaned in: Actually as your Qualified Mental Health Professional, my job is to help you find a way back to your Life Path. We both know you don’t belong in a place like this.

My voice pretty firm here: Speak for yourself.

Guest Review by Nora S.

Absolutely fascinating, enthralling and intense-- This book will make you question everything you know about mental illness. Margaret Torrens is an intelligent, witty, normal woman who, one day, out of nowhere, begins going crazy. Or, does she? Even Margaret herself isn't sure. She thinks that she's seeing the ghost of her dead husband. She's also in an institution with no real memory of what she did to end up there.
As the story unravels, Margaret's memories of her life and her experiences with her own sanity begin to be revealed in stunning and surprising ways. She carefully picks apart her own psyche throughout the narrative showing sides of herself and revealing past trauma that, as the title suggests is “Too Big To Name.” Sometimes, things just are.
I adore Molly Best Tinsley's style of storytelling. It reminds me a bit of Gillian Flynn or Chuck Palahniuk, two authors who have a very stripped down, no-nonsense prose that is acerbically sarcastic and doesn't mince words. Tinsley's writing brought me in to the narrative immediately and didn't let go. I can't believe how quickly I read this book and I wish that I'd slowed down a little so that I could enjoy it for longer. By the end of the novel I felt like I'd just gotten done watching an excellent movie. I want more of this main character and more of Tinsley's writing all around.

I wish that I could give this more than 5 stars, but unfortunately that is all Goodreads will go up to. This is a book for the intrepid and insatiable reader. The kind who won't be satisfied with something light and airy. The kind who wants a full 8-course meal and not just an appetizer. 

About Molly Best Tinsley

Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley
In an episode of sanity, award winning author, Molly Tinsley resigned from the English faculty at the US Naval Academy and moved west to write full-time. . She is the author of MY LIFE WITH DARWIN (Houghton Mifflin) and THROWING KNIVES (Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored SATAN'S CHAMBER (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, THE CREATIVE PROCESS (St. Martin's). Her more recent books are the memoir ENTERING THE BLUE STONE and another Victoria Pierce spy thriller, sequel to SATAN'S CHAMBER: BROKEN ANGELS. Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award. Her fiction has been widely published and her plays have been read and produced nationwide. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.

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Giveaway Things Too Big To Name by Molly Best Tinsley

This giveaway is for the winner’s choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. There will be 3 winners. This giveaway ends November 1, 2019, midnight pacific time.

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