Heavy Light

Heavy Light

A Journey Through Madness, Mania and Healing

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Heavy 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.

A 'Book to look out for in 2021' in the Observer

'An extraordinary book: deeply moving, darkly funny and hugely powerful' Robert Macfarlane

'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

© Horatio Clare 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Reviews

  • A beautiful, unflinchingly honest book about madness, mania, parenting, surviving and, above all, love and its power to heal us
    Rachel Clarke, author of Dear Life and Breathtaking

About the author

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare is the bestselling author of numerous books including the memoirs Running for the Hills and Truant and the travel books A Single Swallow, Down to the Sea in Ships, Orison for a Curlew, Icebreaker and The Light in the Dark. His books for children include Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot and Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds. Horatio's essays and reviews appear on BBC radio and in the Financial Times, the Observer and the Spectator, among other publications. He lives with his family in West Yorkshire.
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