Suzi Orbach's latest book is a fascinating window into the therapist's point of view (quite literally), and into what stories are, and what you can get them to do - as affordances for the narrator, or for you, or for both.

Orbach's book consists of a collection of 'mashed-up' of stories from her experience as a therapist, creating engrossing, dramatic narratives. In Adam's story, as a 'casanova vampire', and in terms of my own experience in eliciting stories, in 'nested narratives', I found myself switching from one side to the other - at first, I was fascinated by Adam's narrative; but as it developed, Orbach's 'voice' comes through so loudly that Adam (the vampire casanova) is relegated to a mere a prop in her sense making (or should one call a spade a spade: he's a prop in her marketing - of herself).

In fact, too much so, as I wanted to hear Adam trying to make sense of him-self, but all I could hear and feel was Orbach's 'textualised' account of her-self. (And its so different from Oliver Sacks's book: The man who mistook his wife for his hat).

In a sense it came across as a rather uncomfortable reminder of, and metaphor for 'extractive' academic work - the type of thing we do as researchers all the time, where what counts (for us) is to be able to write in a clear, recognisable 'research voice' all of our own, which we can use to build up intellectual and peer-group 'capital'. And where the texts of our students are just the (ephemeral) resources for our publications, our annual reports and, nowadays, our evidence based reflective practice.

The question is: Is it possible to provide a space for the narrator's (own) voice, or is their voice always contaminated by the way one, as a facilitator of some kind, inevitably colours and flavours that space? In my experience with 'nested narratives', the only way to get even close to this, is to stick to the 'raw' primary data - unprepared audio stories. Text sucks, to coin a phrase.

One issue remains, though, namely that 'nested narratives' are (also) nested in a relationship of trust, however short lived, and the narratives are (also) narratives of that implicit relationship ... so the trick is to try to make the 'facilitator' disappear as far as possible.

We thank Guttenberg and Tim Berners-Lee for the written texts we can create, read and circulate so effortlessly, but maybe there is a price to pay - text is soooooo mono-vocal, and always tends to get appropriated by the writer and 'incorporated' into thier identity and agenda - though Oliver Sacks (above) is to a large extent an interesting exception to all that.