By (author) Valerie Sinason
A harrowing story of sexual abuse, privilege and trauma.
It's Christmas Eve, and a young woman with Down's syndrome has just disclosed abuse by two men. The problem is she is a member of the British aristocracy and the men she accuses are a top politician and a rock star. How does a national health team struggle with the situation of alleged abuse by the elite and super rich? Despite a traitor in their midst, the team uncovers the appalling reality of the abusive international cult known as The Orpheus Project with its mysterious American spokesperson and powerful connections. This is the world of conspiracy theories; the Orpheus Project and the secret society that surrounds it seek to offer a form of immortality through deliberately installed dissociative disorders.
At the core of this powerful novel is the story of a mother and daughter who find a way of reuniting, and the longterm consequences of childhood trauma.
‘Valerie Sinason’s The Orpheus Project is an engaging novel which is hard to put down, full of intrigue and mystery while addressing some very serious issues. The novel encompasses the secretive world of child abuse by the upper classes, trauma, dissociative identity disorder, disability, mind control and ritual abuse. The novel gives us an insight into the life of Lady Rose, rejected by her mother due to her disability..The way in which Valerie described how they eventually were able to find a closeness and union together, was very moving and beautifully told.
We also get a glimpse of what life is like for adults in care and for those working with them and how professionals deal with disclosures of abuse.Their job is in effect made harder by the way the system works when the perpetrators come from the upper classes and are well known in society.
It is evident from what is written that Valerie has a wealth of experience and knowledge of these issues and for those of us who work with survivors of child abuse, we know how difficult this can be to address and how hard it is for survivors to have a voice, to be heard, and to be believed, as too often they are dismissed.
I feel through this novel, Valerie is in effect giving a voice to survivors as although written as fiction, the sad reality is that abuse takes place by all sections of society with too often the upper classes protected when survivors disclose. Valerie has to be applauded for raising awareness of something that is too often hidden and kept underground.
I very much look forward to a sequel to this excellent captivating novel.’
Dr Sinason's new novel is a true gem. I loved it! As an established poet and esteemed psychotherapist, she introduces us to complex interpersonal dynamics that are inherently humane and compassionate. Time and again my heart flew out to the characters who struggled but also found warmth and understanding with one another - sometimes in the most unlikely places. And as much as she could, Dr. Sinason doesn't even vilify the perpetrators but portrays their internal struggles with a delicate hand.
It is a joy to read and I gobbled it up! The end is not an ending but a realistic cluster of loose ends that has me hoping for a sequel...
I loved the structure and the varied devices which for me personally gave an authentic feel of ever changing uncertainty/unknowing as the storyline was carried along.
It brought me through such a complexity of responses; at times I had to pause reading as the exquisitely accurate portrayal of all the facets of abuse were almost too much to bear in the moment. At other times, the wonderful depiction of complex human actions and reactions made compelling reading. I was carried along with recognition, horror, fear and disgust, tempered by empathy, familiarity and curiosity,
This is such an important book, dealing as it does with a largely taboo subject, and not giving a neatly packaged denouement but a compelling weaving of realities leading to more questions than answers - in a good way!
I look forward eagerly to the sequel.
I read The Orpheus Project by Valerie Sinason, in 2 weekends. It was hard to put down. Valerie is a gifted & prolific writer, editor, poet, and a lovely human being.
This fictional novel provides a soft and indirect view to the complex world of ritual abuse-mind control-organized crime-intellectual challenges (i.e., down syndrome). It was hard not to fall in love immediately with the main character (in my eyes & heart), and such enchanted and delicate process occurred because of Valerie's powerful, profound and informed penwomanship.
Can't wait to read about Lady Rose again ??
Valerie Sinason is the leading authority on Dissociative Identity Disorder in the UK, although now retired from clinical practice. She has worked with some of the most intensely and confusingly dissociative patients and has gradually acquired a deep understanding of the psychological and societal roots of these puzzling conditions.
Her novel The Orpheus Project is fiction. There is no direct connection between any of the characters in the book and any actual person. However, it is a book of truth. All the events and processes described are based on the direct experience and knowledge of Valerie and her colleagues.
Via the vehicle of a gripping and compelling novel, Dr Sinason manages to convey an enormous amount of information regarding topics such as: (1) the nature of organic DID (that occurs protectively in response to severe, repeated, and inescapable trauma in childhood); (2) the even more strange phenomenon of deliberately installed DID (mind control), as evidenced in the documents in the public realm concerning operation paperclip, MKUltra and Monarch programming and the attempts to create a ‘Manchurian Candidate’; (3) the various groups and interests that coalesce around these activities, including science and the military, Satanist and Luciferian groups, paedophile networks, and those concerned with bloodlines and preservation of the elite; (4) the typical responses of various professional groups when confronted by the clinical phenomena described – and the alternative explanations offered; (5) the funding and grooming of certain figures involved in memory research, with the intention of discrediting disclosures by those with installed DID.
Valerie Sinason has over many years highlighted issues in the care of people with disabilities, and their vulnerability to abuse. In this novel she illustrates how intellectual disability may coexist with unimpaired, or even superior, emotional intelligence.
Dr Sinason writes with uncanny empathy of the states of mind and perspectives of the various protagonists – both those in the external world and those within the DID structure of an individual. Many of the characters in this story are well-intentioned, but it provides a vivid and plausible account of how the ‘establishment’ will seek to protect itself when sensitive information is reported. In this account, an NHS and associated psychiatric and disability teams attempt to do their best, under enormous anxiety and political pressure, when a woman of aristocratic heritage, with an intellectual disability, presents plausible disclosures of abuse by figures highly placed in public life. None of the participants have the full picture and the perpetrator protagonists remain free to continue. However, this is also a story of the triumph of love – a mother’s love for her daughter – and, as such, is deeply moving and heart-warming. We may also note that none of the characters comes across as irredeemably evil – but all driven by complex human motives.