Author: Patrick McGrath
Original language: English
Publisher: Poseidon Press , New York, 1990
Spider is gaunt, threadbare, unnerved by everything from his landlady to the smell of gas. He tells us his story in a storm of beautiful language that slowly reveals itself as a fiendishly layered construction of truth and illusion. With echoes of Beckett, Poe, and Paul Bowles,
I cut into my potato, and dead in the middle of the halved potato there was a … thick, slow discharge I recognized as blood.
A wry, mesmerizing tale of madness in a London suffused with the smells of jellied eels, leaking gas, outdoor lavatories and furry feet. Spider obsesses about wetness and fire and sexuality, about “this business of the thought patterns” and “the dead eyes” of his father and a woman named Hilda. Somewhere inside Spider’s internal web of illusions lurks the truth about his mother’s death.
In this “closely observed study of madness, memory and storytelling” the delusional Dennis Clegg, aka Spider, returns to his London neighborhood after 20 years in a mental hospital and insists that his father, not he, murdered his mother. “An admixture of Poe and the comic vulnerabilities of Beckett, this tale lingers long and disturbingly in the mind,” said PW.
Adapted into film.