Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: 2.79

or
 
   
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Tell the Publisher!
Id like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Comforts of Madness [Paperback]

Paul Sayer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  
Paperback, 1 July 1989 --  

Book Description

1 July 1989
Winner of the 1988 Whitbread Award, "The Comforts of Madness" is narrated by a catatonic who never speaks. To the rest of the world he is an inert body and is subjected to a variety of experiments, but his own consciousness is vital and reflective.


Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; New edition edition (1 July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340508043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340508046
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Sayer was born and brought up in South Milford, near Leeds. He was a staff nurse in a large psychiatric hospital, before becoming a full-time writer. THE COMFORTS OF MADNESS, his first novel, won the Constable Trophy for fiction, the Whitbread first novel prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year award in 1988. His work has been translated into seven languages.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dark, descriptive novel 17 Oct 2009
By Bess_Wheat VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The Comforts of Madness is a strange, dark novel. Told from the perspective of a catatonic Peter, we follow his circular journey from a mental hospital through the One World Intensive Rehabilitation Centre and back to the hopital where he has spent the majority of his existence. Throughout his barbaric 'rehabilitation', Peter is comforted by the fact that he will ultimately be left alone to reside within his own head for he knows he has no power to resist whatever the staff or patients wish to do to him.

This novel draws attention to the fact that we can never really be sure what is going on in the minds or imaginations of people who are unable to express themselves. The reader feels helpless to stand up for the injustices Peter is subjected to. Ultimately, this novel is a good example of descriptive prose that highlights the alienation of the characters from the so-called normal life. However, it is a very dark and quite traumatic read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange disturbing but worth reading 4 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a bleak novel recounting the tale of Peter, a young man in a catatonic state. At times it is humourous, but you feel you are reading a satire or, even harsher, an indictment. But of what ? The failure of Social Services to care for a boy in an abusive household who is not able to speak ? Mental health services ? Whilst the treatment is often brusque and uncaring, with Peter perceived as an opportunity for the Director of the new fangled institute to make his name, generally they seem to be doing the best for him. Finally they "experiment" with euthanasia, but in the circumstances one can but feel that it a justification of assisted death. He has nothing to live for, is in physical pain and deteriorating and has been rejected by his sister. If this was a novel written in the former Soviet Union this could be read as an allegory for the citizen under Communism. In the west you are left wondering where the target lies. Notwithstanding this it is a fine piece of writing.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars book 11 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
great value and the book is as good ive been looking for this book for along time the service was very good and thepostage to recived it the next vday
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Not even speaking when spoken to 12 Jan 2011
By Lost John TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Before writing this, his first novel, Paul Sayer worked as a psychiatric nurse. Notwithstanding the disclaimer on the copyright page to the effect that no character or situation in the book bears any relation to any real person or actual happening, we may presume it is based on his very real experience of the large, predominantly Victorian, mental institutions that pre-dated `Care in the Community', their patients and the people who worked there. Even so, his portrayal of the experience and inner thoughts of 33 year old Peter, who all his life has declined to communicate, is remarkable for its empathy and credibility.

The story both opens and closes in a large institution, but much of the action takes place in an experimental rehabilitation unit - where various attempts are made to coerce Peter into speaking and using his body - and in a long retrospective on Peter's childhood. Peter was born into a family that neighbours regarded as odd. They functioned successfully as a family for a while, and both his parents and his sister were generally kind and understanding towards him, but after they fell into debt and did a `moonlight flit' to squat in an abandoned cottage on top of an eroding cliff, things rapidly fell apart. Mother went into mental hospital, in due course discharging herself in company with another patient, who murdered her. Sister Alison returned to live in town and after mother's funeral was seen by Peter just once, and that only very briefly. Father, an alcoholic, eventually took to his bed and died.

When living at the seaside, Peter one day discovered a toad lurking beneath a stone. It observed him, but made no movement. Peter replaced the stone. Later, he saw a girl carrying the toad, impaled on a stick.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whitbread Prize winner - out of print. Why ? 4 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a bleak novel recounting the tale of Peter, a young man in a catatonic state. At times it is humourous, but you feel you are reading a satire or, even harsher, an indictment. But of what ? The failure of Social Services to care for a boy in an abusive household who is not able to speak ? Mental health services ? Whilst the treatment is often brusque and uncaring, with Peter perceived as an opportunity for the Director of the new fangled institute to make his name, generally they seem to be doing the best for him. Finally they "experiment" with euthanasia, but in the circumstances one can but feel that it a justification of assisted death. He has nothing to live for, is in physical pain and deteriorating and has been rejected by his sister. If this was a novel written in the former Soviet Union this could be read as an allegory for the citizen under Communism. In the west you are left wondering where the target lies. Notwithstanding this it is a fine piece of writing. The judgement of publishers and booksellers has to be questioned allowing this titile to go out of print it won the Whitbread Prize in 1988
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not even speaking when spoken to 23 Nov 2011
By Lost John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Before writing this, his first novel, Paul Sayer worked as a psychiatric nurse. Notwithstanding the disclaimer on the copyright page to the effect that no character or situation in the book bears any relation to any real person or actual happening, we may presume it is based on his very real experience of the patients and people who worked in the large, predominantly Victorian, mental institutions in the UK that pre-dated Margaret Thatcher's `Care in the Community'. His portrayal of the experience and inner thoughts of 33 year old Peter, who all his life has declined to communicate, is remarkable for its empathy and credibility.

The story both opens and closes in a large institution, but much of the action takes place in an experimental rehabilitation unit - where various attempts are made to coerce Peter into speaking and using his body - and in a long retrospective on Peter's childhood. Peter was born into a family that neighbors regarded as odd. They functioned successfully as a family for a while, and both his parents and his sister were generally kind and understanding towards him, but after they fell into debt and did a 'moonlight flit' to squat in an abandoned cottage on top of an eroding cliff, things rapidly fell apart. Mother went into mental hospital, in due course discharging herself in company with another patient, who murdered her. Sister Alison returned to live in town and after mother's funeral was seen by Peter just once, and that only very briefly. Father, an alcoholic, eventually took to his bed and died.

When living at the seaside, Peter one day discovered a toad lurking beneath a stone. It observed him, but made no movement. Peter replaced the stone. Later, he saw a girl carrying the toad, impaled on a stick. Still the toad observed silently, not making any move; to do so would have been to inflict pain on itself. The parallels with Peter, as he sees himself, gradually become obvious. He observes, but makes no sound; others intrusively observe him, he makes no move; he is trussed-up, subjected to many indignities, still he neither squirms nor makes any sound. Ultimately, he imagines how satisfactory it must be for the toad when its protecting, concealing stone is replaced. We finish the book thinking that in terms of comfort in madness, replacement of the stone is as good as it gets.

This is a disquieting book, very skillfully written. General lack of dialogue, Peter never responding when spoken to, is scarcely noticed as the action at all times moves purposefully forward. An excellent book from the 1980's, an award winner and best-seller in its time, that is most undeservedly out of print.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback