touches a nerve somewhere.
Nothing like the description A dark and creepy read excellent Minus one star for the short length.
Winner Of The Whitbread Award, The Comforts of Madness Is Narrated By A Catatonic Who Never Speaks To The Rest Of The World He Is An Inert Body And Is Subjected To A Variety Of Experiments, But His Own Consciousness Is Vital And Reflective This Novel Draws Attention To The Fact That We Can Never Really Be Sure What Is Going On In The Minds Or Imaginations Of People Who Are Unable To Express Themselves The Reader Feels Helpless To Stand Up For The Injustices Peter Is Subjected To Ultimately, This Novel Is A Good Example Of Descriptive Prose That Highlights The Alienation Of The Characters From The So Called Normal Life MovingWhen an author is capable of touching the reader in the way this one does, it seems the very reason we write and read these kinds if tales This kind of read brings about a great deal of self reflection on our own lives, as well our own mortality and our fear or acceptance of that as a human being at least this is what it did for me Thank you for this, Paul Sayer.
Slim, unusual insight into the mind of a catatonic mental patient, utterly withdrawn due to trauma and lack of will yet aware of everything external, fighting a long term battle with the doctors and their methods to care for and cure him.
Sayer worked as a staff nurse in a psychiatric hospital, so he no doubt based much of what he writes on first hand testimony This being the case, his experiences must have left him with a poor view of both doctors and patients, because neither here were driven by the right motives.
The doctors seemed concerned with funding and results, which may not be much of a surprise, while the narrator appears to be hood winking the world to some degree, therefore frustrating any attempts to assist him.
Interesting, but difficult to like, or even credit in some regards Did Sayer have a useful point to make, or was he just after some vengeance on certain individuals Can t tell if I m supposed to sympathise with the narrator I really hope I m not because I found him borderline revolting This is quite an unusual novel it was recommended to me by a university professor when I was researching my dissertation and I ended up writing about it in comparison to One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest Both novels explore the subject of mental illness within the confines of a psychiatric institution from the point of view of a mute protagonist but the contexts of the novels differed greatly What I found particularly interesting was that despite gaining critical attention at the time winning the Whitbread award Comforts of Madness seemingly sunk without a trace I found it thought provoking and, at times, hard to read due to some dark subject matter and a bleakness which pervades the text I do feel it is a relevant novel when looking at the depiction of mental illness in fiction Not one that I see myself reading for a second time, however.
I had a hard time with this book It is skilfully written, but it ultimately falls flat I would not expect salvation exactly, or a deus ex machina cure for our locked in narrator, but the repetitive bleakness and the ever increasing smothering feeling just meander and meander until there is, really, no point And that s a real pity because at times it actually made me put the book down, go to the window and just take a deep breath.
Were it shorter, it would be a solid 4 star read.
5 stars Very quick, very short a novella really I liked how it was often unclear what was happening to Peter, the narrator Peter is in a catatonic state after a childhood trauma and while he is aware of everything going on around him is either unable or chooses not to enter back into the world Peter has to piece together where he is being taken, what plans people have for him and we have to do the same And generally it is all bad, although Peter seems removed from all his pain and suffering unsurprisingly But that distance, also distanced me, aside from the very end when he gets his first proper visitor.
The Comforts of Madness is a short book but one that left an impression on me I am training to be a mental health nurse and I think The Comforts of Madness should be essential reading for anyone going into psychiatry The story is a bleak one with veins of futility running all the way through, especially in regards to Peter s condition Health professionals of amoral discipline, focus on the importance of curing , fixing Peter, whilst others simply ignore him all dehumanise him to an uncomfortable degree The book is, in many ways, a guide for how not to work within mental health services As a reader, you get to know Peter through his thoughts and memories, better than anyone else within the story The accounts of his childhood and the trauma which led up to his catatonic state are gripping to read and overall the book is very well written and psychologically engaging.