A searing, immersive account of profound mental illness – and recovery.
Arnold Thomas Fanning had his first experience of depression during adolescence, following the death of his mother. In his 20s, he was overcome by mania and delusions. Thus began a terrible period in which he was often suicidal, increasingly disconnected from family and friends, sometimes in trouble with the law, and homeless for a winter in London.
Drawing on his own memories, the recollections of people who knew him when he was at his worst, and medical records, Fanning has produced a beautifully written, devastatingly intense account of madness - and recovery, to the point where he has not had any serious illness for over a decade.
Very few people have gone through what Fanning went through and emerged alive, well, and capable of telling the tale with such skill and insight. Mind on Fire is the gripping, sometimes harrowing and ultimately uplifting testament of a person who has visited hellish regions of the mind and survived. It is a book for anyone who has experienced mental illness, who is close to someone mentally ill, or who wishes to understand the workings of the disordered mind.
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“The book is ultimately not quite like anything else I’ve read, and brought me as close to the lived reality of mental illness as I have ever been… A significant achievement”
“This is an extraordinary memoir about how it feels to be depressed, delusional, desperate”
“[A] painfully intense, courageous and gripping account of [Fanning’s] journey to the underworld of madness and back. This is a brave and instructive book.”