'Moving and heroically funny' New York Times
'[A] brave and honorable book. Bette Howland is a real writer.' Saul Bellow, author of Seize the Day
'like a way station, an infirmary, a camp hospital: patients had to be patched up as quickly as possible, and returned to the front.'
W-3 is a small psychiatric ward in a large university hospital, a world of pills and passes dispensed by an all-powerful staff, a world of veteran patients with grab-bags of tricks, a world of disheveled, moment-to-moment existence on the edge of permanence.
Bette Howland was one of those patients, and her chronicle of that experience is at once her own story and the close-focus, moving depiction of the lives of the community in W-3. Only through the eyes and sensibilities of a true writer could life on the ward be made so vivid, and Bette Howland has brought us that life through a strong and vigorous journal, full of the ambitious rhythm of human heartbeats.
This wonderful new edition features an original introduction by Yiyun Li, author of Where Reasons End.