By Geoff Nicholson
(Overlook Books, Hardcover, 9781585672394, 298pp.)
Publication Date: February 18, 2002
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In Bedlam Burning, Geoff Nicholson turns his satirical gaze to the ivy covered walls of academia and the rubber rooms of an insane asylum. It all starts at Cambridge University, in the rooms of Dr. John Bentley, a don famous for his book burning parties-"a little, active symbolic literary criticism"-where guests are invited to incinerate books.
It is at one such party that Gregory Collins, brilliant but unprepossessing, meets Mike Smith, a handsome classmate. When Collins's first novel, The Wax Man, is accepted for publication, he convinces Smith to take his place on the book jacket. As a result, it is Smith rather than Collins who receives the offer to be writer-in-residence at the asylum run by Dr. James Kincaid, whose obscure therapeutic philosophy centers on the soothing powers of literature. When Smith compiles a book of the inmates' writings, and it becomes a literary success, this comedy of errors threatens to become a tragedy.
Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. He divides his time between Los Angeles and London
"Nicholson uncoils the plot with great relish . . . you're never tempted to stop reading." (Marcel Theroux, The New York Times Book Review)
"Intellectually engaging and outright fun, Nicholson's new book is a winner." (Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Seattle Times)