It all starts at Cambridge, in the rooms of Dr John Bentley, an eccentric don famous for his book burning parties. Mike Smith is handsome, clever but untalented; Gregory Collins is unprepossessing of face and form, but, it will transpire, a novelist of enormous promise. When Gregory's first novel is published, he persuades Smith to take his place ...Read MoreIt all starts at Cambridge, in the rooms of Dr John Bentley, an eccentric don famous for his book burning parties. Mike Smith is handsome, clever but untalented; Gregory Collins is unprepossessing of face and form, but, it will transpire, a novelist of enormous promise. When Gregory's first novel is published, he persuades Smith to take his place on the book jacket, on the grounds that nobody would buy a novel by an ugly novelist, however talented. Thus is set in train a chain of events which leads to Mike Smith becoming writer in residence in a mental hospital. The therapy of the charismatic but possibly fraudulent Dr Kincaid is based on the theory that people are driven mad by an overload of images; all such are banned in the hospital, but words are encouraged, hence Smith's job. He is as much an inmate as the patients, most of whom strike him as eminently sane at one time or another, but his lot is enlivened no end by the nocturnal visits of Kincaid's lubricious deputy, Alicia. It is only when a book of the patients' writings, teased out of them by Mike, is published and becomes a literary succes d'estime that this comedy of errors of judgment threatens to become a tragedy ...Bedlam Burning gloriously skewers the pretensions both of the literary life and of the insanity business. It is Geoff Nicholson's most brilliant book.Read Less
Near Fine. 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. Minor edge and corner wear, gently scuffed and scratched, spine is very lightly creased, overall a very crisp and clean first edition. 298 unmarked and uncreased pages. "In Bedlam Burning Geoff Nicholson takes deadly satiric aim at the ivy covered walls of academia and the rubber rooms of insane asylums. When the debut novel of Gregory Collins is accepted by a publisher, he seems set on a course for literary stardom. There's just one problem: he doesn't quite have the looks to match his talent, and his publisher wants a photo to put on the book jacket. He asks his handsome (but dim) college classmate, Mike Smith, to take his place."
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