Radical in its conception, uncompromising in its style, Umbrella is Will Self’s most extravagant and imaginative work to date. Recently having abandoned his RD Laing-influenced experiment in running a therapeutic community, maverick psychiatrist Zack Busner arrives at Friern Hospital, a vast Victorian mental asylum in North London, under a professional and a marital cloud. He has every intention of avoiding controversy, but then he encounters Audrey Dearth, a working-class girl from Fulham born in 1890 who has been immured in Friern for decades. Realising that Audrey is just one of a number of post-encephalitics scattered throughout the asylum, Busner becomes involved in an attempt to bring them back to life – with wholly unforeseen consequences.
Will Self is the author of many novels and books of non-fiction, including How the Dead Live, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year 2002 and The Butt, winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2008. He lives in South London. Visit his website at will-self.com.
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