It’s been said Connecticut has no body of literature to speak for it, no great novels that capture our reality the same way some of our neighboring states do. Here at Connecticut Magazine, we are introducing a new regular feature to correct the imbalance. Watch this space for recently published books, fiction and nonfiction, with a Connecticut connection. Got a tip for a book we should check out? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abandoned Asylums of Connecticut
By L.F. Blanchard and Tammy Rebello, Arcadia Publishing
December 2016, 96 pages
The several abandoned mental hospitals still standing throughout the state are a testament to how differently we think about treating mental illness today. Writer L.F. Blanchard and photographer Tammy Rebello’s book is a portrait of Connecticut’s abandoned asylums that is as complex and nuanced as the history itself. There are more than 150 photographs with explanatory text of four abandoned asylums: the Seaside Sanatorium in Waterford, the Mansfield Training School, the Fairfield Hill Hospital, and the now-demolished Norwich State Hospital. Primarily photo based, the book weaves in vignettes of mental health treatment in Connecticut.
By Hirsh Sawhney, Akashic Books
May 2016, 296 pages
There is no South Haven, of course, but the town created in Hirsh Sawhney’s debut novel could be any of the suburbs ringing New Haven. The book follows young Siddharth, the child of Indian immigrants who is beset by tragedy as he moves from childhood into adolescence. Sawhney weaves together his own plot, with heartbreaking difficulties about confronting the complexity of identities, with nationally and locally important issues like Islamophobia, all painted on a southern Connecticut backdrop.