Who is mad? Who is sane? Who decides? Welcome to the Dorothy Fish, a day hospital in North London! N has been a patient here for thirteen years. Day after day she sits smoking in the common room, swapping medication and comparing MAD money rates. Like all the patients at the Dorothy Fish, N's chief ambition is never to get discharged. Each year when her annual assessment comes round, she is relieved to learn that she hasn't got any better. Then in walks Poppy Shakespeare in her six-inch skirt and twelve-inch heels. She is certain she isn't mentally ill and desperate to return to her life outside. Though baffled by Poppy's attitude, N agrees to help. Together they plot to gain Poppy's freedom. But in a world where everything's upside-down, are they crazy enough to upset the system?Funny, brilliant and moving, "Poppy Shakespeare" looks at madness from the inside, questioning our mental health system and the borders we place between sanity and insanity. Written in high-voltage prose, original and troubling, it is a stunning debut.
- Hardback | 352 pages
- 142 x 218 x 40mm | 539.78g
- 03 Apr 2006
- Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- London, United Kingdom
'Here is a serious novel which portrays the mentally ill with both raucous humour and with an empathy altogether lacking in sentimentality. The pitch of the narrative voice is perfect, and the characters, in all their bravado, pathos and absurdity, feel utterly true to life. It is a brave and original piece of work.' Patrick McGrath 'Catch 22 meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in a North London day hospital - Clare Allan's Poppy Shakespeare is an electrifying debut, written after 10 years as a psychiatric patient, which bursts on to the page with a wholly original voice: surreal, raucous, infuriating and very funny.' Guardian
About Clare Allan
Clare Allan was the winner of the first Orange/Harpers short story prize. She lives in London. This is her first novel.