NORTH author Philip Paris highlights Britain’s hidden domestic abuse victims — men — in his latest novel.
Paris, who is appearing at this weekend’s Dornoch Book Fair, wrote Men Cry Alone following research into an area of domestic abuse that continues to be largely ignored.
Yet according to a recent Home Office survey, one in six men will suffer domestic abuse during their lifetime.
"No one should be subjected to domestic abuse," Paris stated.
"Tragically, it occurs all too often, affecting people regardless of gender, age, class, race or religion. Although Men Cry Alone is a work of fiction, the examples of abuse and the situations that the characters find themselves in reflect accurately what occurs in real life."
Domestic abuse is constantly in the news, most recently because the UK Government has announced that during 2013 it will change its official definition.
Currently, this is "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or are family members, regardless of gender or sexuality." Next year the definition will be altered to incorporate 16 and 17-year-olds and include the phrase "coercive control" — a systematic pattern of abuse and control.
The Fearn based author’s books include two about Orkney’s famous Italian Chapel — one non-fiction and one a novel — and the autobiographical Nylon Kid of the North about growing up in Gateshead in the 1960s and ’70s.
However, given the subject matter of Men Cry Alone which touches on dementia as well as domestic abuse, Paris believes his new book is potentially far more controversial than his pervious releases.
"The growing problem of dementia amongst an ageing population means that abuse due to a partner having dementia is an increasing one," he continued.
"It’s another area that I wanted to explore and one of the three key characters in the book experiences violence because his wife has Alzheimer’s.
"In reality, it’s a situation that often remains hidden from family and friends, with even the victim not appreciating that what they are experiencing is domestic violence, albeit in tragic circumstances."
Though only released this month, Men Cry Alone has already picked up some impressive reviews.
Erin Pizzey, who opened the world’s first shelter for battered women in 1971, said she wept many times reading Men Cry Alone and described it as "a profoundly moving novel" while Mark Brooks, chairman of UK domestic abuse charity ManKind Initiative, commented: "Men Cry Alone brings to life with great clarity and vividness the ordeal suffered by many men behind closed doors."
The 300-page paperback, priced £10.99, can be obtained from all mainstream book outlets. An ebook version is also available.
• Philip Paris is just one of the Highland authors appearing at Dornoch Social Club this weekend as part of the Dornoch Book Fair.
The full line up is:
Saturday 24th November
11am — Philip Paris. Author of Men Cry Alone.
12pm — Clio Gray. Award-winning short story and historical crime writer whose most recent work is The Brora Murders, set at the time of the Kildonan gold rush.
1pm — Shona MacLean. Author of the Alexander Seaton historical mystery series, set mainly in 17th century Scotland.
2pm — James Andrew. He will be reading from his second book of poetry, Birdsong and Flame, which he wrote when working and living in Istanbul.
3pm — Kate Ashton. Romantic novelist turned freelance editor, translator and poet.
4pm — Nick Trumble (aka Mulbert). The Brora-based performance poet will be reading some of his poems with subject matter ranging from the big bang, to the dreaded Scottish midgie.
Sunday 25th November
11am — Peter Wright. Will talk about his 1200 kilometre journey tracing the Watershed of Scotland.
12pm — Annie Mellor. A qualified teacher with extensive, specialist experience with dyslexics, dyscalculics and dyspraxics, Mellor leads workshops in how to tackle reading and writing problems.
1pm — The Literary Quiz.
2pm — Jean McLennan. Wick honorary Sheriff and author of Blood in the Glens, a collection of true crime stories from the Highlands and Islands.
3pm — Catherine Byrne. Short story writer.