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Hanging with the Elephant: A Story of Love, Loss and Meditation

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In his new book, Hanging with the Elephant, writer Michael Harding is back in Leitrim in the north-west of Ireland. His wife has left for a six-week trip to Poland and he is alone for the first time since his illness two years earlier. Faced with this time on his own, Harding resolves to examine the threat of depression that is a constant presence in his life and his depen In his new book, Hanging with the Elephant, writer Michael Harding is back in Leitrim in the north-west of Ireland. His wife has left for a six-week trip to Poland and he is alone for the first time since his illness two years earlier. Faced with this time on his own, Harding resolves to examine the threat of depression that is a constant presence in his life and his dependency on his wife, the beloved, since his illness. But, as he attempts to tame the 'elephant' - an Asian metaphor for the unruly mind - he finds himself drawn back to the death of his mother during the summer of 2012. Written with unflinching honesty, Hanging with the Elephant begins as one man's quest to overcome his demons, but becomes a journey into the depths of the soul, where we are given a glimpse of the one thing that holds us all.


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In his new book, Hanging with the Elephant, writer Michael Harding is back in Leitrim in the north-west of Ireland. His wife has left for a six-week trip to Poland and he is alone for the first time since his illness two years earlier. Faced with this time on his own, Harding resolves to examine the threat of depression that is a constant presence in his life and his depen In his new book, Hanging with the Elephant, writer Michael Harding is back in Leitrim in the north-west of Ireland. His wife has left for a six-week trip to Poland and he is alone for the first time since his illness two years earlier. Faced with this time on his own, Harding resolves to examine the threat of depression that is a constant presence in his life and his dependency on his wife, the beloved, since his illness. But, as he attempts to tame the 'elephant' - an Asian metaphor for the unruly mind - he finds himself drawn back to the death of his mother during the summer of 2012. Written with unflinching honesty, Hanging with the Elephant begins as one man's quest to overcome his demons, but becomes a journey into the depths of the soul, where we are given a glimpse of the one thing that holds us all.

30 review for Hanging with the Elephant: A Story of Love, Loss and Meditation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gearóid

    This is my second Michael Harding book to read in succession. He writes so honestly about difficult subjects like grief,loss, loneliness and depression but I is actually very uplifting as he writes in his own voice about this own experiences. He is just honest and direct about important subjects.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marta Pereira

    Intelligent and witty. A man's trip into himself, his past, the loss of his mother and the absence of his beloved for a few weeks. Sparkled with bits of humour, a few reflexions upon the meaning of life, the pursuit of happiness and the role of meditation and religion on this process. Intelligent and witty. A man's trip into himself, his past, the loss of his mother and the absence of his beloved for a few weeks. Sparkled with bits of humour, a few reflexions upon the meaning of life, the pursuit of happiness and the role of meditation and religion on this process.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This memoir should of been a winner in the book awards , its honest, funny n witty at times, but Michael harding talks of his difficulties that everyone feels at some point in their life, his loneliness & depression has been a part of his life that he learns to deal with & accept, hes a very likeable person, & a great story teller, hes passionate & finds it hard to hite his emotions, this memoir focuses on his relationship with his partner & also his late mother, its inspiring . I hope Michael w This memoir should of been a winner in the book awards , its honest, funny n witty at times, but Michael harding talks of his difficulties that everyone feels at some point in their life, his loneliness & depression has been a part of his life that he learns to deal with & accept, hes a very likeable person, & a great story teller, hes passionate & finds it hard to hite his emotions, this memoir focuses on his relationship with his partner & also his late mother, its inspiring . I hope Michael writes many more in the future

  4. 5 out of 5

    Colettester

    Enjoyed the book. Easy to read, and not too heavy. Michael works through his grief for his mother, enjoys time reminiscing. It's funny, poignant, and found myself relating a lot to his frankness regarding his feelings. As my gran is from Letrim was nice to visit the places in my head that he mentions. Overall, I enjoyed it. It's the first book that's caught my attention from start to finish for a long time. Enjoyed the book. Easy to read, and not too heavy. Michael works through his grief for his mother, enjoys time reminiscing. It's funny, poignant, and found myself relating a lot to his frankness regarding his feelings. As my gran is from Letrim was nice to visit the places in my head that he mentions. Overall, I enjoyed it. It's the first book that's caught my attention from start to finish for a long time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    Journalist reflects on relationship with his mother and with women in his life, while his partner is away for 6 weeks some interesting turns of phrase and simply written seems self indulgent at times and overly deliberate in its open honesty... like having your ear bent by a local in a Leitrim pub, not sure where he might venture to keep your attention and show you how little he cares for the niceties

  6. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    This one wasn't to my taste. I found the writer to be quite sexist (in the "oh poor men can't clean as well as women" way) and self absorbed. To be fair, I read it with big expectations as it was recommended by a friend who's taste I rate highly (not this time!!) - but didn't gel with me. I'm giving the second star of one really funny piece about meditation - totally relatable. This one wasn't to my taste. I found the writer to be quite sexist (in the "oh poor men can't clean as well as women" way) and self absorbed. To be fair, I read it with big expectations as it was recommended by a friend who's taste I rate highly (not this time!!) - but didn't gel with me. I'm giving the second star of one really funny piece about meditation - totally relatable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Walsh

    I really enjoyed this book. Not my usual kind of book at all but really captivating. Some of the paragraphs were so beautifully written that I had to stop and re read them. A gem!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    This was my first Michael Harding book. It tells a sad and depressing tale of Man's Journey or Man's Quest to find answers into the meaning of life and to overcome his demons. Left alone, his mental health in Leitrim is tested as his Beloved goes away to Poland for six weeks. It is written in first person narration and his use of analogies is quite powerful. Michael strives to "tame the elephant" of his mind, through a stream of consciousness. The darkness of his crumbling mind is awakened and This was my first Michael Harding book. It tells a sad and depressing tale of Man's Journey or Man's Quest to find answers into the meaning of life and to overcome his demons. Left alone, his mental health in Leitrim is tested as his Beloved goes away to Poland for six weeks. It is written in first person narration and his use of analogies is quite powerful. Michael strives to "tame the elephant" of his mind, through a stream of consciousness. The darkness of his crumbling mind is awakened and perhaps enlightened by Buddhism. Michael portrays an appreciation for the Irish scenery and his descriptions are often vivid and factual.

  9. 5 out of 5

    The Book Grocer

    Purchase Hanging with the Elephant here for just $8! This is a touching, witty and uplifting memoir about overcoming depression and grief through self-exploration. The sadness of Harding’s journey to acceptance is overcome by the uplifting undertone of his dearest memories. Honest and raw, you will feel like you are having a conversation with one of your best friends. Irina - The Book Grocer Purchase Hanging with the Elephant here for just $8! This is a touching, witty and uplifting memoir about overcoming depression and grief through self-exploration. The sadness of Harding’s journey to acceptance is overcome by the uplifting undertone of his dearest memories. Honest and raw, you will feel like you are having a conversation with one of your best friends. Irina - The Book Grocer

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adrian McGahan

    I enjoyed the previous Michael Harding book, ''Staring at lakes' and found this to be more of the same, which is a good thing. There is a bit about meditation here but it's also about grief, relationships and depression, amongst other things. Harding writes about difficult matters in a simple way and is completely readable. I could have read this in a couple of sittings but I found it so moving at times that I didn't want to rush it. Full of gentle wisdom, funny and sad. I enjoyed the previous Michael Harding book, ''Staring at lakes' and found this to be more of the same, which is a good thing. There is a bit about meditation here but it's also about grief, relationships and depression, amongst other things. Harding writes about difficult matters in a simple way and is completely readable. I could have read this in a couple of sittings but I found it so moving at times that I didn't want to rush it. Full of gentle wisdom, funny and sad.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Briana Kelly

    I was really looking forward to this book which was about the Irish author who lost their mother and found peace through meditation. He spoke about his day to day activities over approx 6 months who no meaning or inspiration whatsoever. The book was slow paced, mundane and I was disappointed I spent the time to read it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ann Neville

    For the first few chapters I wanted to give up, but glad I didn’t. The title says love, loss & meditation. Love and loss quite clear, the meditation?? Think his meditation was the writing of the book. Very busy read not very relaxed

  13. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Grant

    I really enjoyed the first half, found it funny and moving in equal parts, but then I got sick and tired of hanging with Michael Harding and his bloody elephant. Never got a clear idea of who his mother was or who is partner is. The stereotypes of the helpless around the house male and the competent, sort everything out female, did my head in. Glad to be finished with it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Lazarus

    A psychologist friend of mine referred this book to me. It was different from what I expected. Michael Harding's partner, who he only ever refers to as "beloved" goes to Poland for a trip of exploration of her art, and he is left at home, hanging with the elephant. during the time, he relives the death of his mother, and comes to terms with her death. It is funny, moving at times, and yet quite ordinary at other times. A psychologist friend of mine referred this book to me. It was different from what I expected. Michael Harding's partner, who he only ever refers to as "beloved" goes to Poland for a trip of exploration of her art, and he is left at home, hanging with the elephant. during the time, he relives the death of his mother, and comes to terms with her death. It is funny, moving at times, and yet quite ordinary at other times.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate Tobin

    This was a book I was given as a gift. What a wonderful read it turned out to be it kept me on edge wanting to read more. The grief and depression coming through it was heart rending powerful and true go get hanging with the elephant well worth the suspense and the read

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shameela

    Kerry I read this this week and loved it-thank you;it's a lovely read Kerry I read this this week and loved it-thank you;it's a lovely read

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Ryan

    Not for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Not really my thing ... a bit depressing and he wasn't a character I could relate well to. A recommendation from my mother but I don't think she has read it herself yet!! Not really my thing ... a bit depressing and he wasn't a character I could relate well to. A recommendation from my mother but I don't think she has read it herself yet!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annie Moore

    started of great couldnt put it down but began to disappoint the further i went on

  20. 5 out of 5

    Say

    An enjoyable read, unlike anything I've read before. The writer invites you inside his world like an old friend. An enjoyable read, unlike anything I've read before. The writer invites you inside his world like an old friend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary Graham

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Conlan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  25. 4 out of 5

    Frances Sexton

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anne-Marie McGovern

  27. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis O

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert B. OConnor

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pete Wintsch

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma

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