3 out of 4 stars
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The Rantings of a Madman: A Schizophrenic’s Story is a poetry book that details the mind of a schizophrenic and his struggle with making sense of his reality. The book focuses on the reality of the spiritual, supernatural, and metaphysical, which is made possible through God being the foundation of reality. Based on his experiences living with schizophrenia, Ahmad Zaidi Naqvi Qureshi explores a world that is made possible through his disease.
The book uses three central themes: God, Truth, and Reality. As God is treated as the foundation of Reality, the author finds Truth in God, which helps him navigate through his delusions in his Reality. For the schizophrenic, Truth is not limited in choosing between binary opposites (love and hate, light and dark). Since logic breaks down in the mind of the schizophrenic, the struggle of the schizophrenic lies in navigating through the reality that is accessible to him.
It is interesting to note the coherence and inferences made possible through this book. Since God is treated to be the only reality in Islam, the author takes this to heart and extends this belief relating to his experiences. He infers that his delusions, which may bring him “tricks and lies” and “deceit and conceit”, is the work of the devil. Only through knowledge (Truth in God) can the author “avoid the devil’s traps.” It’s good to see that this coherence fits naturally in the book.
But seeing as the book talks about abstract concepts such as God, Truth, and Reality, there is a lack of imagery in the poems. The reader is presented with multiple binary opposites, yet the book doesn't do much to flesh out the meaning of the contradictions. Because of this, it is sometimes hard to make sense of what the author is trying to mean. While I think that this may be intentional as the poems correspond with the author trying to make sense of a reality he's struggling to grasp, the poems may still feel too bland to read at times because of the lack of imagery.
Nevertheless, the poems contain insights that are unique to the author. Given that the book is professionally edited, The Rantings of a Madman: A Schizophrenic’s Story can be a good read that allows readers to peer inside the mind of a schizophrenic. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I believe that the book can be further improved by using imagery to make the poems more vivid. I can recommend this book to people who are interested in thinking about reality the same way as the author.
The Rantings of a Madman
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