Title: "Trauma"

Author: by Patrick McGrath

Publisher: Knopf

Pages: 210 pages

Price: $24.95

In a nutshell: This is the haunting, gripping story of a Manhattan psychiatrist, Charlie Weir, who provides excellent counseling for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but he cannot effectively deal with his own emotional problems.

Charlie exudes the strength and calm of a man who is in control of his life. But he does not connect with either the women he knows or his older brother, and he seems incapable of using the tools of the trade to help himself. So he suddenly and tragically darts out of orbit. The characters are impressively well-defined, and the gifted use of language equals literature at its best.