'Compassion and revulsion': Book imagines perspective of Greyhound bus beheader
Published Monday, March 23, 2015 9:44AM EDT
A new book written from the perspective of Vince Li, the man who killed and beheaded Tim McLean on a Greyhound bus in 2008, is already generating controversy, months before its release.
Author Joseph Fasano, an adjunct professor of creative writing at Columbia University, says the long form poem he wrote is meant to offer a glimpse into the mind of someone struggling with psychosis.
Fasano says he wrote the book-length poem, simply titled "Vincent," after learning about the horrific crime that made headlines around the world.
"It's a haunting event. It's terrifying. It's haunting in the way that everybody has found it. And it just makes your heart go out to the family of the victim," Fasano told CTV Winnipeg.
Fasano said his book tries to imagine what was going on Li's mind, who was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the killing and who was found not criminally responsible for the crime.
"We can feel compassion and revulsion at the same time. And I think that's just a human way of looking at a situation that, obviously, has just destroyed so many lives," he said.
Chris Summerville, the CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, who has worked with Li at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre, says he hasn't yet read the poem, but would like to. He hopes the book might help offer a clear-eyed look at schizophrenia and address some of the stigmas around mental illness.
"If this particular book aids in that conversation, then I think it will be much welcomed by the mental health community," he said.
At the same time, though, Summerville adds that he wonders how the book will be received by the McLean family, who has said they believe that Li has an incurable illness and should be locked up for life.
Vincent will be released June 1 by Cider Press Review.
With a report from CTV Winnipeg's Ben Miljure