Patient X by David Peace
The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa

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Peace tries to take us behind the scenes of the writer’s mind, imagining Akutagawa imagining himself as the protagonist of that story – and then excerpting that story (in this case, Rashōmon).
-Guardian

Synopsis

The acclaimed author of Occupied City, Tokyo Year Zero, and The Red Riding Quartet now gives us a stunning work of fiction in twelve connected tales that take up the strange, brief life of the brilliant twentieth-century Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.

Haunting and evocative, brutal and surreal, these twelve connected tales evoke the life of the Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927), whose short story "In the Grove" served as an inspiration for Akira Kurosawa's famous film Rashōmon, and whose narrative use of multiple perspectives and different versions of a single event influenced generations of storytellers. Writing out of his own obsession with Akutagawa, David Peace delves into the known facts and events of the writer's life and inner world--birth to a mother who was mentally ill and a father who died shortly thereafter; his own battles with mental illness; his complicated reaction to the beginnings of modernization and Westernization of Japan; his short but prolific writing career; his suicide at the age of thirty-five--and creates a stunningly atmospheric and deeply moving fiction that tells its own story of a singularly brilliant mind.
 

About David Peace

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David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family. He wrote the Red Riding Quartet from 1999 to 2002, and has since written two more novels, The Damned United and Tokyo Year Zero. In May 2008 his work was the subject of a South Bank Show.
 
Published August 21, 2018 by Knopf. 352 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Patient X
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Sansom on Apr 07 2018

Patient X is told in Peace’s trademark fragmented, incantatory style, as distinctive in its way as, say, full-blown Henry James, using repetition, hyperbole and italicised interior monologue to create swirling hallucinatory effects.

Read Full Review of Patient X: The Case-Book of R... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Anthony Cummins on Apr 01 2018

Peace tries to take us behind the scenes of the writer’s mind, imagining Akutagawa imagining himself as the protagonist of that story – and then excerpting that story (in this case, Rashōmon).

Read Full Review of Patient X: The Case-Book of R... | See more reviews from Guardian
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