Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story (Paperback)
  • Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story (Paperback)
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Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story (Paperback)

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Paperback 256 Pages / Published: 08/12/2011
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On a cold February day two months after his 20th birthday, Henry waded into the lethally cold Newhaven estuary and almost drowned. The trees, he said, had told him to do it.

In Afghanistan, Patrick learned that Henry had been admitted to a hospital mental ward. Ten days later he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. With remarkable candour, Patrick writes of the seven years Henry has since spent almost entirely in mental hospitals. Schizophrenics are at high risk for suicide, and his parents live in constant fear for Henry's life.

The book also includes Henry's own account of his experiences. In these raw and eerily beautiful chapters he tells of his visions and voices, the sense that he has discovered something magical and profound. Together, Patrick and Henry's stories create one of the most nuanced and revealing portraits of mental illness ever written, and a stirring memoir of family, parenthood, and courage.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
ISBN: 9781847398598
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 218 g
Dimensions: 198 x 130 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
""Henry's Demons" is the harrowing yet hopeful story of the descent into schizophrenia of UK journalist Patrick Cockburn's son Henry at age 20. Henry's self-reflections are the stuff of raw genius."

-"Elle"


"Just as Henry Cockburn's beautiful and ingenious paintings were a clue to his distraught mental state, so this intensely moving collaboration with his father and mother illustrates the ways in which suffering and trauma can be the gateway to love, solidarity, and even healing. There is poetry in this prose: the bipolarity of misery and exaltation that Blake understood."

--Christopher Hitchens


"A compelling, powerful first person account of the gritty realities of living with serious mental illness. Patrick and Henry are utterly real."

-- Mark Vonnegut, M.D., author of "Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So" and "The Eden Express"


"A gripping drama of family life in a maelstrom. The Cockburns bring home the rigors of major mental illness...This is a kind of war-and-peace story, with internal and external turmoil, hope, sabotage, and surprise. A mind-bending, heart-rending psychological classic."

--" Library Journal"


""Henry's Demons" offers a bifocal view of schizophrenia and its impact on a family. This myth-shredding, light-shedding account explores a condition that few present-tense 'insiders' have ever written about. Patrick Cockburn writes with a journalist's lucidity; Henry Cockburn's descriptions of how someone with schizophrenia sees the world recall certain cult-artists such as Bruno Schulz and Syd Barrett. A truly remarkable book, and a brave one."

--David Mitchell, author of "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" and "Cloud Atlas"


"A living, breathing book... "Henry's Demons" is a probing tour through the glories (and occasional idiocies) of the British health care system, through the history of schizophrenia and through the often barbarous ways patients have been treated. It's a tour, too, through the psyches of two bright people watching their son unravel, the stitching pulled from his mind like wool from the bottom of a sweater. Nearly every aspect of this family's life is interesting and quasi-novelistic."

--Dwight Garner, "The New York Times"


"Together, father and son illuminate how "madness" can be as generative as it is devastating. This is an inspiring testament to the power of family to save and sustain each other through adversity, one written with great humanity and grace. The tenderness and terror in these pages stayed with me for days. Touchingly, it is Henry who has the last word, and it is one of hope."

--Claire Fontaine, coauthor of "Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back"


"This is, yes, a book about a serious mental illness, but it is much more -- it is a story of a father's love for a child and the ability of a desperately ill child to perceive the force of that love and use it as a source of strength. It is also a brutally honest account of parental missed signals and misunderstandings -- not surprising, though, given Patrick Cockburn's career of telling it as it is."

--Seymour M. Hersh

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“Henry's Demons”

Schizophrenia is a difficult and misunderstood topic. As Patrick Cockburn makes clear, there are still too many uncertainities and unknowns, and the common assumptions made about madness and sanity don't help.... More

Paperback edition
25th November 2011
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