Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1988 Costa Winner

Comforts of Madness by Paul Sayer


Publisher: Sceptre

Length: 136 pages

About: Unvoiced monologue of catatonic patient

Style: 1st person

Where: England

When: 1980s



Publisher’s synopsis:

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.






I had hoped to remain unturned, but it was not to be. The night nurse came with the first ashes of dawn, ripping back the bedcovers, sighing audibly, then tossing back the counterpane while he went in search of clean linen. None of this was particularly remarkable; it was the same every morning.






Paul Sayer forces the reader to confront the fact that behind the rigid stillness of the ill or handicapped there may be keen minds and flourishing imaginations…The novel is undoubtedly gripping and, in the best way, shocking.

The Independent


Not so good

A decent first effort, but it would take the skills of a Beckett to dramatize successfully a state as inert as Peter's, so it's no surprise that Sayer largely fails here, or that his means of sparking a conflict (the rehab center) is excessively melodramatic.

www.kirkusreviews 1st January 1989 for full review click here



About the author

Paul Sayer was brought up in South Milford, near Leeds. He was a staff nurse in a large psychiatric hospital, before becoming a full-time writer. He is married with a son and lives in York.


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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