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Paul Sayer Biography

(c.1956– ), The Comforts of Madness, Howling at the Moon, The Absolution Game

hospital marriage novel account

British novelist, born in South Milford, near Leeds. He was working as a staff nurse in a psychiatric hospital when his first novel, The Comforts of Madness (1988; Whitbread Prize), was published. It is the moving first-person account of a speechless, catatonic patient in a hospital therapy unit, and displays its author's intimate knowledge of hospital life, the world of the mentally ill, and the workings of the disturbed mind. His second novel, Howling at the Moon (1990), is another exploration of obsessive states, delusions, and the effects of childhood deprivation and traumas on the adult psyche; Sayer's spare, unemotional style and his portrait of a modern marriage destroyed by paranoid jealousy are compelling. In The Absolution Game (1992), the story of a social worker's personal dilemmas, and The Storm-Bringer (1994), the account of the tragic secrets that lie behind a marriage's apparently calm surface, Sayer continues his quiet investigation of contemporary norms and mores.

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