The Bullet: A Memoir

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Granta hardcover
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In August 2014, Tom Lee and his parents drove out to visit Severalls Hospital, a former in-patient psychiatric hospital. Closed since the 1990s, as part of a nationwide shuttering of psychiatric institutions, the buildings now stand derelict and overgrown. But in the recent past, the name ‘Severalls’ resounded with dread and fear, entering local lexicon as a place where the strange, deranged and dangerous were ‘kept away’.

Among those strange, deranged and dangerous people were Tom’s own parents. The Bullet is a memoir of their time in Severalls, and the breakdowns and difficulties that led them there – often against their will. It is also Tom’s own story of his struggle with his fragmenting mental health – a hereditary bullet he believed he’d dodged – and the extraordinary physical crises that precipitated them.

Deeply moving, clear-sighted and enormously poignant, The Bullet is a window onto the treatment of mental health disorders in the UK, and a searing analysis of living with a fracturing mind.