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The Flaw in the Crystal

May Sinclair

Book Overview: 

One of May Sinclair’s “uncanny” stories, this novella explores many of Sinclair’s most treasured themes: the bounds of marriage, the conflict between flesh and spirit, the complexity of human emotions in relation to other humans, the practical everyday implications of philosophical Idealism. In the story, when Agatha Verrall enters into an extra-marital affair with Rodney Lanyon, she struggles to keep the relationship on a spiritual plane without falling into the physical passion that she fears. To her astonishment, she discovers that she has an extraordinary paranormal ability to manipulate the psyches and even the physical states of the people around her. At first, she uses it in a way that seems harmless to her, coaxing the oblivious Rodney to visit her whenever she wants him. Before long, she learns that her powers have tremendous potential for good, for healing psychological disorders untouched by ordinary medicine. But the exercise of her Power leads to terrifying dangers for herself and her beneficiaries, proving that it might be beyond her ability to harness without vast harm.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .How can he get better if we keep him wrapped in it? You're not afraid. You're not afraid."

Persistent, invincible affirmation was part of her method, her secret.

Milly replied a little wearily (she knew nothing about the method).

"I haven't time to be afraid," she said. "And as long as you're not——"

"It's you who matter," Agatha cried. "You're so near him. Don't you realise what it means to be so near?"

Milly smiled sadly, tenderly. (As if she didn't know!)

"My dear, that's all that keeps me going. I've got to make him feel that he's protected."

"He is protected," said Agatha.

Already she was drawing her charmed circle round him.

"As long as I hold out. If I give in he's done for."

"You mustn't think it. You mustn't say it!"

"But—I know it. Oh, my dear! I'm all he's got."

At that she looked for a moment as if she might break down. She said the t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Well. this was weird. As well written as all her other books, and with a typical appalling woman (in this case, Millie), but it reminded me of late Henry James somehow. Which isn't a criticism, but makes it less easy reading than usual.

May Sinclair is great. I cannot believe I had never even heard of this woman!
This is not as fabulous in every way as Harriet Frean, but it is such a fun, fun read! It is far-fetched and strange and there is no profound analysis of human nature or men and women or stuff like that. It is just an inte

The story of a young woman who thinks she can cure people by thinking.

I thought this short story took too long to start, there's a good bit in the middle, but then the ending is just okay.