Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press, 2002.
298 p. ; 24 cm.
Brilliant but unattractive Gregory Colins meets handsome classmate Mike Smith at a book burning party, and when Gregory's book is accepted for publication, he convinces Mike to take his place on the book jacket, a deception that plunges Mike into the spotlight of literary success.
In Bedlam Burning, Geoff Nicholson turns his satirical gaze to the ivy covered walls of academia and the rubber rooms of an insane asylum. It all starts at Cambridge University, in the rooms of Dr. John Bentley, a don famous for his book burning parties-"a little, active symbolic literary criticism"--Where guests are invited to incinerate books. It is at one such party that Gregory Collins, brilliant but unprepossessing, meets Mike Smith, a handsome classmate. When Collins's first novel, The Wax Man, is accepted for publication, he convinces Smith to take his place on the book jacket. As a result, it is Smith rather than Collins who receives the offer to be writer-in-residence at the asylum run by Dr. James Kincaid, whose obscure therapeutic philosophy centers on the soothing powers of literature. When Smith compiles a book of the inmates' writings, and it becomes a literary success, this comedy of errors threatens to become a tragedy.