Patient X: The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa


Product Details

Knopf Publishing Group
Publish Date
5.9 X 1.3 X 8.3 inches | 1.2 pounds
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About the Author

David Peace--named in 2003 one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists--was born and brought up in Yorkshire. He is the author of the Red Riding Quartet (Nineteen Seventy-Four, Nineteen Seventy-Seven, Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty-Three); GB84, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; The Damned Utd and Red or Dead, which was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. The final part of his Tokyo Trilogy--to follow Tokyo Year Zero and Occupied City--will appear after Patient X, his tenth novel. He lives in Tokyo.


"Dazzling. . . . An uncanny act of ventriloquism, fusing Akutagawa's jagged storytelling voice with Peace's own pulsing narration." --The New York Times Book Review

"A lyrical masterpiece that takes up Japan and the circumstances of life in the past, present and beyond. . . . Astounding." --The Japan Times

"His best to date, to my mind." --David Mitchell, The Guardian

"Superlative: exacting, precise and filled with the suffocating sense of foreboding generated by the master's own best stories. . . . Peace is not simply a masterfully controlled stylist but a magnificently atmospheric one, composing hypnotic collages." --Financial Times

"One might say that what Peace does with words is impossible to adequately describe with words. . . . [He] has written a biography in fiction. He has assumed Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's writing soul. . . . Yet, the possibility that Peace's fiction is not all his own never enters the reader's mind. To not only attempt such a feat, but to carry it out in a work that is not autobiographical in any shape or form is further proof of Peace's mastery of the art of fiction." --Counterpunch

"David Peace is not a writer who obeys the usual conventions and assumptions: his work defies expectations. . . . With Patient X, one begins to see that Peace's achievement is not merely as an English prose stylist, or as someone who merges genres, or indeed even as a political writer challenging what appears to be the natural order, but as a transnational figure challenging all categories of containment." --Ian Sansom, The Guardian

"[A] forceful stylist with . . . a taste for the weird, all of which makes [Peace] a good match for Akutagawa." --The Wall Street Journal

"Beautiful, gothic and powerfully mysterious." --Esquire (UK)

"An imaginative glimpse behind the curtain of a sheltered, definitively troubled writer of a century past. . . . [Patient X] has an elegant poetry to it." --Kirkus Reviews

"By combining history, oral tradition, surrealism, and a Poe-like grittiness, the always innovative Peace reimagines the life of a gifted writer who died young by his own hand." --Booklist

"A surreal world in which madmen, doppelgangers and demons rub shoulders with Christ, Buddha and Jack the Ripper. . . . One of the most original and intriguing books you'll read this year." --The Mail on Sunday

"Brilliant. . . . Peace is one of the best and most peculiar writers in English today. . . . The kaleidoscopic effect of Patient X gives English-language audiences their best chance of insight into the strange mental amalgamation that allowed Akutagawa to construct his fiction." --The Washington Free Beacon

"Further proof, if proof were needed, that David Peace is one of Britain's (and the world's) most gifted and original novelists." --Sydney Morning Herald

"A riskily complex novel. . . . Think Dostoevsky, but also Edgar Allan Poe and Paul Auster . . . Intricate. . . . Lyrical." --Clive Lowdon, The Sunday Times (London)

"The most illuminating commentary possible that Anglophone readers could find on this compelling figure." --The Daily Telegraph