The acclaimed author of Bleeding London spins a yarn of academia, lunacy, and the blurry lines between them in this Whitbread Prize-finalist novel.
It all starts at Cambridge University, where Dr. John Bentley throws his book burning parties"a little active, symbolic literary criticism"in which guests are invited to state their grudges against their least favorite books, and then toss them into a fire. It is at one such party that the brilliant but sheepish Gregory Collins meets Mike Smith, a handsome classmate. They become fast friends. And then their friendship takes a decidedly strange turn.
When Gregory's first novel, The Wax Man, is published, he convinces Mike to take his place on the book jacket. Now Mike is the one invited to be a writer-in-residence at an insane asylum run by Dr. Eric Kincaid, whose obscure therapeutic philosophy centers on the soothing powers of literature. When Mike compiles a book of the inmates' writings, and it becomes a literary success, this comedy of errors threatens to take another, far darker turn.
"Completely addictive and very, very funny. Great." Jonathan Lethem, author of A Gambler's Anatomy
"Donald Westlake meets Ken Kesey in this . . . compulsively good read." Library Journal