Fiction Patrick McGrath Spider

ISBN 13: 9780140146424

Spider

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9780140146424: Spider

Set in 1957, this book tells the story of Spider, a lonely figure who returns to the East End of London after 20 years in an asylum. Spider moves into a boarding house and begins to write an account of his childhood, providing a disturbing vision of psychotic illness from inside.

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Review:

I cut into my potato, and dead in the middle of the halved potato there was a . . . thick, slow discharge I recognized as blood.

A wry, mesmerizing tale of madness in a London suffused with the smells of jellied eels, leaking gas, outdoor lavatories and furry feet. Spider obsesses about wetness and fire and sexuality, about "this business of the thought patterns" and "the dead eyes" of his father and a woman named Hilda. Somewhere inside Spider's internal web of illusions lurks the truth about his mother's death.

From the Inside Flap:

Spider is gaunt, threadbare, unnerved by everything from his landlady to the smell of gas. He tells us his story in a storm of beautiful language that slowly reveals itself as a fiendishly layered construction of truth and illusion. With echoes of Beckett, Poe, and Paul Bowles, Spider is a tale of horror and madness, storytelling and skepticism, a novel whose dizzying style lays bare the deepest layers of subconscious terror.

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