Geoff Nicholson Bedlam Burning

ISBN 13: 9781585674534

Bedlam Burning

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9781585674534: Bedlam Burning

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.

Consequently it is Smith rather than Collins who receives the offer to be writer-in-residence at an asylum where therapy is centered on the soothing powers of literature. It's not long before the boundaries between inmate and observer are blurred in this literary cuckoo's nest and this comedy of errors verges on tragedy.

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About the Author:

Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize. He divides his time between Los Angeles and London

From Publishers Weekly:

The English comic tradition has always shown a fine weakness for a little lunacy, and Nicholson's 13th novel (after Bleeding London, a Whitbread Prize finalist) is the latest variation on that theme. Michael Smith is a handsome Cambridge graduate working a dead-end job at a rare book dealer's in the mid-'70s. Fellow grad Gregory Collins has written a novel and wants to use Michael's picture for the author photograph. The hoax gets more complex when Gregory persuades Michael to continue the imposture by giving a reading of the novel at a Brighton bookstore. In the sparse audience, which includes Michael's disapproving girlfriend, Nicola, is a gorgeous psychiatrist, Alicia Crowe, who persuades Michael-as-Gregory to be writer-in-residence at a local lunatic asylum. Michael accepts for two reasons: he's bored at the bookstore and wants to bed Alicia. The real Gregory approves, partly because he's slept with Nicola. Michael finds the Kincaid Clinic to be as strange as one would expect, and his attempts to turn a colorfully psychopathological crew into creative writing students eventually bears prolix fruit. He also discovers the dubious joys of making love to Alicia, who is a coprophemic a dirty talker. Michael finds Dr. Kincaid's extreme regulations unsettling: Kincaid bans pictures, photographs and drawings from the asylum, because, as he explains, the patients "have all seen too many images." The fragile situation begins to fall apart when a selection of the inmates' writing is actually published. The ensuing attention blows Michael's cover, but will his former Cambridge professor, John Bentley, unmask him? Nicholson's book, like a Fawlty Towers episode, delightfully stretches sanity to its farcical breaking point. Film rights optioned by New Line Cinema. (Feb.)Forecast: If Nicholson ever manages to break out in the U.S. a few prominent reviews would help he might well attract a loyal cult following.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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