The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness

Matt Ottley     Recommended by    

‘Even before he was born, he was cherished. But there was, even then, deep within him, a seed. As the seed sprouted and grew, it made the boy see things invisible to others.’

An author, visual artist and composer, Matt Ottley has combined his talents in his latest work to create a multi-modal sensory feast that merges words, art and music.

The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness is a groundbreaking, large-scale and multi-modal project weaving the worlds of literature, music, and visual art together in the story of one boy’s journey into mental illness.

The narrative unfolds around the metaphor of a tree, growing within the boy, whose flower is ecstasy and whose fruit is sadness.

The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness is inspired by the experiences of its creator, Matt Ottley, who has lived with bipolar disorder all his life and been hospitalised on numerous occasions in mental health facilities. Having personally experienced the prejudices and challenges that come from suffering a mental illness, Matt’s aim is to offer a sensory insight through words, music, and images into the experiences of those who suffer from such debilitating illnesses, particularly psychosis. The journey is enhanced by the accompanying musical score, which readers are encouraged to listen to as they read (CD included within the book).

Ultimately, this multi-modal work is about society and belief, and about beauty, resilience, and hope. Recommended for readers 15+.

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