(British, 1955– )
Sayer worked as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, and his first novel, The Comforts of Madness (1988, Whitbread Book of the Year), draws vividly on that experience. It is the interior monologue of a 33-year-old catatonic man in hospital, reflecting on his treatment, his memories, and the world around him, without sentiment. If you only read one Sayer novel, this should be it. Amongst his other novels dealing with social issues and mental instability is The Absolution Game (1992) about a social worker isolated by his own do-gooding, who attempts a relationship with a woman client, and finds a hostel place for a murderous boy. The novel charts the hero's mental disintegration in the grim town he has chosen for his work. Men in Rage (1999) traces a week in the life of an angry and murderous young man.
Janet Frame, David Cook, Paul Bailey JR