Book cover for W-3



21 July 2022
224 pages
Imprint: Picador


The voice is cool and the gaze is clear . . . a startlingly frank account of mental illness, and the contradictions and humiliations of life as a patient . . . akin to a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
A writer of terrifying power, who sees and hears everything . . . Not only is this a sane memoir of madness but it may well be the sanest, most mordant take on the subject I have ever read.
Her memoir, clear-eyed, with an anthropological, sociological distance, is a brilliant attempt to document life on the ward with clinical detachment . . . a wonder. Her prose is direct, unadorned, under-stated.
At moments dazzlingly and daringly written . . . Its author captures quite brilliantly the comical competitiveness of her fellow patients – who’s the maddest here? they ask, each one hoping to claim victory . . . and she is excellent, too, at delineating what we might call the secret life of the institution. The patients exist for the hospital’s sake, rather than the other way around.