Each story is more gripping than the last ... It is utterly compelling: the details, the dialogue, which bring each character, however heavily disguised, leaping off the page. Tallis’s years of close observation might not always have solved his patients’ problems (he is disarmingly honest about the limitations of psychotherapy) but they have helped turn him into a fine writer. He is alert to every nuance ... He knows how to tell a story. Boy, does he know how to tell a story. This powerful and moving book is not just about individual cases. It’s also about what the human animal needs.
Mr. Tallis is a gifted storyteller ... he applies a novelist’s skill to his clinical material ... The book is rich not just in memorable, strange characters but in fine, perceptive lines ... He is unfailingly interesting, except when he writes like a psychotherapist ... There are few such passages. The psychotherapist is held in check, but so is the storyteller. Mr Tallis rarely tries to force his characters’ complexity into neat diagnoses, and he does not attempt a novelist’s resolution of their tales. Most of them drift out of his life, leaving both shrink and reader in ignorance of their fates. Yet this is not unsatisfying: Mr Tallis’s characters remain sharply, painfully real, their stories as inconclusive, messy and fascinating as life.
Tallis’s book will interest anyone who wants to know what makes people tick. And you’ll pick up some handy tips ... Tallis is candid about the challenges he faces as an analyst too ... The Incurable Romantic earns its place in the fine tradition of popular psychoanalytic writing, exemplified by Irvin D Yalom’s excellent book of case studies, Love’s Executioner. Although Tallis never quite matches Yalom’s intimidating powers of perception, he is an amiable and acute guide to the madness of love.