Is Alice?


SKU paperback Category

180 in stock


By Bill Bailey

ISBN: 9781847478986
Published: 2009
Pages: 500
Key Themes: fiction, schizophrenia, psychiatry, love


Is Alice. is a powerful and fictionalised love story. The novel was written solely as a manuscript gift for my partner, and publication is therefore dependent upon her wishes. Her primary one, along with pleasure about its surprising publication, is anonymity. She is not Alice, and I am not Theo. This is not a biography. Fiction is used in Is Alice. To illuminate an actual madness along with a real search for the ideas that may help in understanding the living and political nature of consciousness the structure of normality and the real world and its incoherent collapse into the hell that is known as schizophrenia. There are passages from the patients point of view, which make this novel an unusual project. That is because the inner landscape of madness does have a logic and meaning that should be acknowledged and evoked, instead of ridiculed or misunderstood. Contemporary psychology never mind clinical psychiatry fails in its attempt to address the nature of consciousness or its creation of the world. I believe philosophy underpins psychology, not the other way around.

About the Author

Born in a small rural town in North Carolina, Bill Bailey began his itinerant life after graduating from university with a degree in philosophy and a keen interest in judo. After being drafted and subsequently ejected by the US Army for being incompatible, he found work as a prison guard in Canada and continued his study of judo before briefly prospecting for gold in British Columbia. Having meanwhile accidentally married a Texan heiress, he moved to Houston, Texas where he managed a ranch, scrambled motorbikes, rallied sports cars, worked as a bouncer, taught English and French and organised the first white collar union in the US meat packing industry. He placed third in the Southwestern US Judo Championships, light heavyweight division and was awarded his black belt. Backing quickly away from Texas after stumbling into the acting profession he moved to London. Within a year of his arrival he became the first full frontal male nude on the British stage and, consequently, was featured in a full page photo in Life Magazine opposite Lennon and Ono. In the course of his acting career he has worked extensively in film in Hollywood and Europe television, and Londons West End. During the Miners Strike of 1984 85 Bill wrote a play about the strike and toured the embattled coalfields performing with a small company of actors. He is the published author of five novels called The Haug Quintet, an investigation of the political nature of consciousness set in a compelling fictional landscape.

1 review for Is Alice?

  1. Mel Cobb (verified owner)

    Having discovered the writings of Bill Bailey through his earlier series of five novels constructed around a quirky modern-day London detective, I was delighted to find his latest effort, Is Alice? Looking forward to another pyrotechnical display of his story-telling skills, I was not at all prepared for the depth and power of Mr. Bailey’s newest. On the surface, it’s a love story, but unlike any other I’ve encountered. Through layer after layer of connecting plot tissue, Mr. Bailey illuminates some of the darkest, yet transcendent corners of that sometime monster we know as the Mental Health System. Seemingly little related threads, from the sublime delights of classical music to the practice of Judo, weave together into a terrifying exploration of the human mind under siege. Not just from the perspective of the fascinating woman who is besieged, but also from the resourceful, persistent, and relentless man who comes to love her. The apparently small and claustrophobic world of north London continually metamorphoses into the macrocosm of the outer-most reaches of universal experience. The struggles and eventual triumph of this pair of star-crossed lovers offer the reader a journey from the depths of despair and hopelessness to the heights of physical pleasure and contemplative delights. This is no mere “Cuckoo’s Nest”, it is “Dante’s Inferno” set to the music of Mozart, Mahler and Shubert. There, but for the grace of God and the power of the individual human mind go we all.

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