The tale entire presents itself as the transcript of 18 double-sided
tapes, all of which have been recorded by a 50+ paranoid
schizophrenic. The making of these tapes began as his attempt — an
aide memoir and thus a means of bringing some order to his
fragmented thoughts — to discover the 'something wrong' that he
feels is hiding away somewhere within his mind.
Cataloguing all that he feels might be important he describes his
day-to-day life in a residential home in a seedy seaside town. He
reports too on the puzzling behaviour of the town's inhabitants,
along with that of the staff and the other residents of the home.
While he tries to work out what it is that is wrong there is a
robbery, arson, and a local girl is murdered. All of which he
initially suspects himself being responsible for....
brilliantly innovative book is a 'must read!'
Lack of originality is certainly not a criticism one could level at
by Sam Smith. This is one of the most innovative novels I have read
for some time. The form is that of a series of transcripts of tape
recordings of someone who, as it becomes rapidly clear, has some
serious mental health problems. This is a harrowing work, which
raises some disturbing issues about mental health care generally,
and care homes in particular. You feel yourself literally getting
into the mind of the character, and caring about what happens to him
- both rare attributes in novels these days. I am sorry that lack of
time prevents me from writing a fuller review.