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Clare Allan
ISBN # : 9780747585848
Publisher: Bloomsbury
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Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Prize

Poppy Shakespeare is wholly unique both an insiders look at the madness of the mental health system and an outsiders discovery of the power of an unlikely friendship, it signals the arrival of an extraordinary new voice on the international literary scene.

Who is mad? Who is sane? Who decides?

Welcome to the Dorothy Fish, a day hospital in North London. N has been a patient here for thirteen years. Day after day she sits smoking in the common room, swapping medication and comparing MAD money rates. Like all the patients at the Dorothy Fish, Ns chief ambition is never to get discharged. Each year, when her annual assessment comes round, she is relieved to learn that she hasnt got any better.

Then in walks Poppy Shakespeare in her six-inch skirt and twelve-inch heels. She is certain she isnt mentally ill and desperate to return to her life outside. Though baffled by Poppys attitude, N agrees to help. Together they plot to gain Poppys freedom. But in a world where everythings upside-down, are they crazy enough to upset the system?

Funny, brilliant, and moving, Poppy Shakespeare looks at madness from the inside, questioning our mental health system and the borders we place between sanity and insanity. Written in high-voltage prose, original and troubling, it is a stunning debut.

About the Author
Clare Allan was the winner of the first Orange/Harpers short-story prize. She lives in London. This is her first novel.

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