‘An extraordinary book: deeply moving, darkly funny and hugely powerful’ Robert MacfarlaneHeavy Light is the story of a breakdown: a journey through mania, psychosis and treatment in a psychiatric hospital, and onwards to release, recovery and healing. After a lifetime of ups and downs, Horatio Clare was committed to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. From hypomania in the Alps, to a complete breakdown and a locked ward in Wakefield, this is a gripping account of how the mind loses touch with reality, how we fall apart and how we can be healed – or not – by treatment.
A story of the wonder and intensity of the manic experience, as well as its peril and strangeness, it is shot through with the love, kindness, humour and care of those who deal with someone who becomes dangerously ill. Partly a tribute to those who looked after Horatio, from family and friends to strangers and professionals, and partly an investigation into how we understand and treat acute crises of mental health, Heavy Light’s beauty, power and compassion illuminate a fundamental part of human experience. It asks urgent questions about mental health that affect each and every one of us.
‘One of the most brilliant travel writers of our day takes us us now to that most challenging country, severe mental illness; and does so with such wit, warmth, and humanity, that, better acquainted with its terrors, we may better face our own’ Reverend Richard Coles’A record of the bravest, most perilous, most intrepid journey that any human being can ever make. It is stricken, moving, urgent, crucial . .
. A luminous, beautiful achievement’ Niall Griffiths