Patient X by David Peace – portrait of a tortured artist

575Ian Sansom at The Guardian:

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. “In his study, sweating and bitten, Ryūnosuke felt like a flying fish, lucklessly fallen onto the dusty deck of a dry-docked ship, to die tormented by the screams of cicadas, tortured by the probosces of mosquitoes.” “You stare at your face, your skin and your skull. […] You are the magician, you are the sorcerer. In your tuxedo, in your top hat.”

Unlikely as it seems, Peace’s extraordinary, highly performative style is as well suited to depicting Akutagawa’s various struggles as a writer as it was to portraying the drama of being Brian Clough. “Down there was a man named Ryūnosuke, who was writing in Hell with all the other sinners. This man had once been an acclaimed author but he had led a most selfish life, hurting even the people who loved him.” This is essentially a novel about a man being confronted with “his selves, his legion of selves – son and father, husband and friend, lover and writer, Man of the East and Man of the West […] his selves and his characters too […] his many creations and, of course, his sins, his countless, countless sins: his pride, his greed, his lust, his anger, his gluttony, his envy and his sloth.”

more here.