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By Greg Hollingshead

“Bedlam is stylishly written, full of dazzling, epigrammatic insights… [it] is a intellectual novel, but also a moving story about fully fleshed human beings.”
The Globe and Mail

“[M]asterful… Bedlam is a novel of ideas but it’s not a novel populated by mouthpieces created simply to state those ideas. These are complex characters moving in richly rendered settings… Hollingshead has long used empathy, wit and lucid prose to nail contemporary manners. Now he has applied those same qualities to a very different epoch…”
The Montreal Gazette



This distinguished prize-winning novelist’s long-awaited new work is set in the world’s first lunatic asylum, Bedlam, in London in the eighteenth century. The two central characters are based on real-life historical figures: John Haslam, the medic who is trying to modernize attitudes toward dealing with the mentally ill; and his most famous patient, the brilliant James Tilly Matthews, who has probably been incarcerated for political reasons.

“Hollingshead’s language slides between the centuries as he tangles with provocative themes… A vivid picture of … the “English Bastille” adds density to the gallows humor that peppers this brutal story.”
Publishers Weekly

“[G]orgeous . . . heartfelt writing and smart research . . . carefully unearthing and framing a long-lost time.”
New York Times Book Review

“Superbly disturbing.”
Boston Sunday Globe

“[Hollingshead] has brilliantly brought to life the atmosphere, ideas and language of late-18th- and early 19th-century England. Two great triumphs of voice and characterization ought to push Bedlam onto shortlists for literary awards this fall.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“Hollingshead construct[s] his own seamless version of historical London… Madness and identity are the issues Hollingshead concerns himself with, and they make for a stronger novel than one of mere political intrigue.”
Quill & Quire


HarperCollins, Canada, Fall 2004

Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, U.S., Fall 2006


National Bestseller

Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize

Shortlisted for the City of Edmonton Book Prize

Shortlisted for the Grant MacEwan Award

Shortlisted for the Georges Bugnet Award for the Novel

Longlisted for the International Impac Literary Award

Other Books by Greg Hollingshead