A Novel of Love and Madness
By Greg Hollingshead
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312427429, 400pp.)
Publication Date: October 30, 2007
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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An International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Nominee
A Toronto Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
Conspiracies, plots, and paranoia are sweeping through London in the last days of the eighteenth century, and James Tilly Matthews has been caught under false pretenses and locked up in the city's vast, crumbling asylum. As his wife, Margaret, tries desperately to free him, political forces conspire to keep him locked up. Margaret's chief adversary is John Haslam, the asylum's chief apothecary, a man torn between his conscience and the lure of scientific discovery: as James becomes more famous--and more unhinged--he becomes a valuable specimen for the young doctor and a pawn in a grand political conspiracy. Based on real characters and events, Bedlam is a brilliant evocation of a city teetering between darkness and light, and a moving study of every kind of madness.
Greg Hollingshead is the author of The Roaring Girl, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, and The Healer, which won the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Giller Prize. He is professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and director of writing programs at the Banff Centre.
"Superbly disturbing . . . a profoundly moving examination of both mental and political lunacy."--The Boston Globe
"Bedlam has no end of gorgeous writing . . . elegant, heartfelt . . . filled with rewarding descriptions of a bygone era."--The New York Times Book Review
"A vivid picture of the grotesque patients and sadistic staff of the 'English Bastille' adds density to the gallows humor that peppers this brutal story."--Publishers Weekly "Stylishly written, full of dazzling, epigrammatic insights . . . An intellectual novel, but also a moving story about fully fleshed human beings."--The Globe and Mail (Toronto)