COLIN THUBRON on another
memorable journey — this time through the dark landscape of madness. He shows us a conclusion in the first riveting chapter and we travel with him, hooked but hopeless, fearing to arrive.
Daniel, like the story he tells, is finished before he starts, a state of affairs illuminated briefly in the occasional flicker of memory — a mother . . "smiling for once-. He cannot escape the life he leads as an
ineffectual English teacher in a run-down prep school, he cannot escape the end of his affair with Sophia.
Colin Thubron has used his considerable gifts to make us feel what, with luck, we will never experience. We inhabit the treacherous parallel world of Faraday ward where the patients fight, gamble, invent religions, play their keepers' game of democracy, reveal themselves in Daniel's "essay competition", and all the while we arc aware of a creeping uncertainty. What is real? What does the question mean?