An extraordinary novel. The quality of the writing, as well as the author's imaginative prowess, is immediately apparent. As another reviewer has written, this is a challenging read – this book will disturb you, quite probably frustrate you at times, and astound you with its imagery and dexterity with language. Is the central character, Donald Clement, undergoing psychosis, some florid schizophrenic state? Do the ‘mind rooms’ he manifests represent his salvation or his doom? Is his paramour, Bernadette, real or some imaginary and idealised version of womanhood (who then gradually corrodes to her antithesis); who exactly is Dr Leibkov? Has a crime been committed as the result of adultery, or was the adultery itself the crime which has set Donald’s mind askew, broken his soul? You’ve got to read it to find out – albeit the novel discourages a single definitive interpretation – I imagine there will be numerous ‘readings’ of this text.
Infinite Rooms contains some incredibly impressive and memorable set-pieces of descriptive writing. A dark, somewhat bitter humour pervades a narrative studded with moments of deep pathos. I found the ending strangely moving – both a release and a kind of despair. I’ve never read a novel quite like this, or had such an intense reading experience – at times, similar to taking mushrooms or being sleep deprived. To paraphrase R.D. Laing’s contention, a person’s apparent ‘madness’ or ‘psychotic’ behaviour can often be seen as explicable, and even oddly rational, when one understands their social and emotional world, their external and internal history – David John Griffin has given us, in Donald Clement, a compelling and emotionally-layered character who exemplifies Laing’s view.