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The Blackbird Singularity

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  151 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Vince stops taking his lithium when he finds out about his partner's pregnancy. As withdrawal kicks in, he can barely hold his life together. Somewhere between making friends with a blackbird in the back garden and hearing his dead son's footsteps in the attic, he finds himself lost and alone, journeying through a world of chaos and darkness, completely unaware of the mira ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 1st 2016 by Legend Times Group
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Cat It's deliberately unclear; I think it was probably meant as a moment of magical realism, I just don't read enough of that genre to be sure!
It's deliberately unclear; I think it was probably meant as a moment of magical realism, I just don't read enough of that genre to be sure!
I interpreted it as Vince's hallucination. He sees her giving birth to a blackbird-human hybrid / perhaps some kind of twisted angel-baby. Given that there's no further reference to it and they then shift back to normality, I don't think she really gets into a serious car accident, but that he experiences a small accident in a heightened way as a result of his mania.
I'd be interested to know how other people read it though.(less)

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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  151 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Vince was diagnosed with stress-induced bi-polar disorder after the death of his son, Charlie. The doctors prescribed lithium, but Vince stopped taking his medication after learning of his wife's unexpected pregnancy. Withdrawal kicks in, and Vince's hold on reality spirals into chaos. Now he's seeing Charlie in the hallway, sensing him in the attic, hearing his laughter in the dark . . .

The Blackbird Singularity opens with a few novice writing techniques, but it's worth pushing through the ini
Joanne Harris
The moving, surreal journey of a writer in deep depression following the death of his son, through the turmoil of his partner’s new pregnancy and the mystical relationship he forms with a wild blackbird in his back garden. It’s a well-written, atmospheric little novel, with a cast of rather too many characters – though by far the best and most convincing sections are the ones that deal with the narrator’s struggle with grief and his battle with depression and drugs. By contrast, the other charac ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, reviewed
This book is exquisite! Wilvern cleverly blends the dimensions of science, mathematics, psychology, philosophy, anthropology and mythology with the inner world of a man who was literally turned mad with grief. We walk vicariously into the protagonist's decline into insanity - Vince, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after the death of his son. Two years later, Vince abruptly stops taking his lithium on hearing the news that his wife is pregnant again, and we follow him, even collude with h ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, psychology
When Vince lost his three-year-old son to cancer, he "went mad" and suffered a complete breakdown. Held on a psych ward in the aftermath, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed Lithium. A few years later Lyd, Vince's successful physicist wife, falls pregnant again. Vince decides to discontinue his medication in order to rediscover the version of himself prior to Lithium, prior to being a grief-stricken father, failing author, and distant husband, who is financially dependent on hi ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The Blackbird Singularity is probably not my obvious choice of book but after reading the description there was just something about it that really appealed to me.

Vince and his wife are still trying to come to terms with the loss of their son Charlie. It is so hard to comprehend what a parent must go through in losing a child. I don’t think anyone’s grief is the same and everyone handles it differently. Vince obviously has had a total break down and has been put on Lithium so he can cope with li
This is one of those times where I can't relate enough to the characters or situation to engage with the book.

I have no kids so I've never even contemplated the pain of losing one. However, usually I can find a way to empathize.

This time, I simply can't.

Vince is bipolar. As am I. But I can't relate to his experience because in my opinion, he's making stupid decisions. Yet at the same time, I'm all too aware that the psychological ramifications of being bipolar is caused by physiology.

In other
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a powerful and compelling story of a man devastated by grief tipped over into madness following the death of his small son. He is prescribed lithium but decides to come off it as he finds his real personality is clouded by the drug and he wants to be in full command of his intellect. But his sudden withdrawal from the drug has unexpected consequences and we follow Vince’s struggle as he tries to cope with his mental state. As his world begins to spiral out of control he finds connection ...more
Kate Wolstenholme
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Blackbird Singularity is beautifully written, I feel that I've discovered a new favourite author in Matt Wilven.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads

I picked this book up from the library on a whim, and I'm so pleased to say that it was a great choice. Wilven has somehow managed to write a story that is both incredibly mundane and bizarre at the same time. The characters' experiences are absurd, yet their reactions to them are so normal. It's blatantly surreal, if you will. I was enthralled by the narrative instantly and constantly.

Although the story is a bit disjointed during some scenes, it is clearly done on purpose; the turns are sh
Susan Cairney
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There was nothing about this book I didn't love. The story had me from the first sentence. Matt Wilven - that was genius writing. Thank you x
Jul 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gasping for breath as he drowns in his own sanity, Vince, or rather the state of his mind and the demons that dwell there, are the subjects of The Blackbird Singularity. He’s an ordinary guy with a creative intelligence, which is being suffocated by the Lithium coursing through his veins. He relies on the drug to see him through to the next day, well this, and the immense strength of his wife, Lydia.

His behaviour is erratic and he’s missing out on what’s left of his life since the tragic death o
Wael EL Gabas
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unique, Masterpiece, one of the kind, it is a very unique experience to read this book, too many emotions, too many thoughts you got when you read, very grasping, very original and super unique, i think it is the birth of a new star in literature Matt Wilven.
Writerful Books
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Blackbird Singularity explores the fine line between a writer’s creativity and a mind in the grip of a full-blown manic episode. The story is told from the point of view of Vince, a struggling writer, who decides to stop taking his medication when he discovers his wife Lyd has become pregnant. He longs to redeem himself from a deep sense of failure as a man and as a writer. He is convinced that withdrawing from the effects of lithium will release him from grief and help him become a better f ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
I feel pretty disappointed with this book: yes, I keep reading but, inevitably, I find myself saying: 'really?!?!?!' . The story is so obvious, no real insight of the characters and a general sense of pity when the little son's story comes up in a pathetic attempt to capture the reader's interest! well, this is not enough as my mind keeps going on and on throughout the pages in the vain hope that something will really save its reputation.
Juliet Wilson
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
I was immediately drawn into this novel by the relationship that Vince has with a blackbird that visits his garden and how he tempts the bird to finally brave coming into the house. It reminded me of my mother and her favourite blackbird that she used to feed.

However, things for Vince are a lot more complicated than just feeding the local birds like a caring birdwatcher. Vince has just stopped taking his lithium, he's haunted by the ghost of their first child and Lyd, his physicist partner is pr
Jo Marjoribanks
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Every so often I like to read a book about mental health to increase my understanding of conditions I don't have personal experience with. This one was a very well written account of one man's life with bipolar disorder and the effects of his decision to stop taking his medication after discovering that his wife is pregnant with their second child - an emotional revelation given that their first son died. This decision allows him to forge ahead with his creative writing and to feel things more v ...more
Ewan Fisher
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a fantastic novel. I loved it, and just finished reading it a second time which is something I almost never do. It has beautiful and realistic characters with relationships that are rendered with great insight and depth. In this way Wilven writes brilliant social realism, but what really elevated the novel for me was the dreamlike blackbird theme and its symbolism, and how this was woven through the narrative right to the thrilling climax. Genuinely imaginative and unique.

A really heartwarm
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
A first-person narrative about mental breakdown (I seem to read a lot of these). I liked the characterisation, as Vince was by turns judgemental, paranoid and vulnerable. Unlike some stories about mentally ill people he wasn't a martyr, monster or paragon of virtue. I felt that his rejection of medication was believable, and that the withdrawal symptoms were realistic and well-integrated. Having said that, the idea that medication for mental illness crushes creativity and drowns out a person's ' ...more
Ian yarington
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Generally speaking I have a tough time with books like this where people start to go insane see things like their dead children but I feel like Wilven does a decent job at keeping it grounded despite the nature of it. I actually enjoy Vince and his journey is something that I can identify with even though he is basically going crazy without his lithium. I feel like his struggles are real, the depression, the grief from losing a child, all of Vince's problems are things I can at least sympathies ...more
Suzanne M
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book. Told through the first person narrative of the main character, we see a slow decline into madness following his refusal to take Lithium when he finds out his wife is pregnant with their second child. The Lithium is prescribed after the loss of their first child, to help cope with the loss and subsequent break from reality. There are a few other characters, developed in detail, that add madness of their own into the mix. This book was a pleasurable and engrossing read w ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a slightly difficult book to review as so much of it is terribly sad that it sounds wrong to say I really enjoyed it. Vince and Lyd's son Charlie died and Vince went off the rails. Eventually he was diagnosed with stress-induced bipolar disorder and prescribed Lithium. Now Lyd is pregnant again, Vince stops taking his medication and makes friends with a blackbird. It's a bumpy ride from there on...

A very interesting and welcome addition to the increasing number of very good novels that t
Jodie "Bookish"  Cook
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Book Review

Title: The Blackbird Singularity

Author: Matt Wilven

Genre: Family/Drama/Psychological

Rating: *****

Review: The first thing that really caught my eye about this book was that it wasn’t separated into parts but into trimesters. The first chapter of this book was amazing. It was chillingly gripping with the death of a child, drugs, depression and the dread/joy of a new baby on the way and how those devastated by death can bring a new life into the shadowed world.

I feel very sorry for Vince
Rasmus Skovdal
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I might do a proper review of this, at some point. And possibly reconsider the rating - it's quite good, really, but flawed.

Though, I might keep it at 3 stars for criminal abuse of the word 'whilst'.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Unbelievably incredible.
Melissa Smith
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thanks so much for the giveaway, it sounds interesting and I'm excited to read it. Review will be updated after I've read it.
Rebecca Orton
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kind of weird, but I liked it. Was easy to read
Chloe Smith
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Never before have I read very few pages and been drawn straight into the beauty of the writing. Matt Wilven brings beautifully written metaphors that leave you breathless. Each word fits in so perfectly to these metaphors and truly brings to life the meaning behind it that you can’t help but wonder how something has never been described this way before. Wilven brings an alternate perspective on Charlie’s cancer that flows and highlights the internal struggle with such an illness that many would ...more
Sharon Bhamra
Matt Wilven’s The Blackbird Singularity is an intense and deep exploration of mental illness and grief. After the death of his son Charlie, Vince spirals into mania with only the help of lithium to control and bring him back to reality. When finding out his wife Lyd, is pregnant, he stops taking his medication and what follows is an honest depiction of someone experiencing withdrawal and how it affects everyone around them.

The book addresses loss; not just in the form of bereavement but also in
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
No parent copes well with the death, unexpected or otherwise, of a child. Some are only better than others at hiding their hurt. Vince reacts in an extreme way, loses his mind and in the process almost ruins the family financially – and for this is hospitalised, medicated and only allowed home when he promises to keep taking the medicine which almost makes him catatonic. A promise he breaks.

Lyd doesn't lose it. She suffers as much as he does but added to that resents the fact that she had to dea
Kate Avery
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Here, I’m not just a lost and hopeless man...I’m in a safe place, fighting to get through a dark time, taking an isolated opportunity to try to come to terms with some of the blind spots in my mind.

The Blackbird Singularity is a book about loss, not just in the sense of bereavement but also losing yourself. After his son dies, Vince spirals into a black hole that he only manages to surface from with the help of lithium. However the lithium makes him cloudy and when he finds out his wife, Lyd,
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“The novelty and excitement of my new ideas have passed but my need to keep writing the story is still great. I imagine it similar to how an archaeologist must feel when his tool first strikes an ancient set of bones. Exhilaration comes first, having found something rare, but that is short lived. The real work still needs to be done.” 2 likes
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