"A living, breathing book... Henrys Demons is a probing tour through the glories (and occasional idiocies) of the British health care system, through the history of schizophrenia and through the often barbarous ways patients have been treated. Its a tour, too, through the psyches of two bright people watching their son unravel, the stitching pulled from his mind like wool from the bottom of a sweater. Nearly every aspect of this familys life is interesting and quasi-novelistic."
--Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"A gripping drama of family life in a maelstrom. The Cockburns bring home the rigors of major mental illness
This is a kind of war-and-peace story, with internal and external turmoil, hope, sabotage, and surprise. A mind-bending, heart-rending psychological classic.
-- Library Journal
Henry's Demons offers a bifocal view of schizophrenia and its impact on a family. This myth-shredding, light-shedding account explores a condition that few present-tense 'insiders' have ever written about. Patrick Cockburn writes with a journalist's lucidity; Henry Cockburn's descriptions of how someone with schizophrenia sees the world recall certain cult-artists such as Bruno Schulz and Syd Barrett. A truly remarkable book, and a brave one.
--David Mitchell, author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Cloud Atlas
"This is, yes, a book about a serious mental illness, but it is much more -- it is a story of a father's love for a child and the ability of a desperately ill child to perceive the force of that love and use it as a source of strength. It is also a brutally honest account of parental missed signals and misunderstandings -- not surprising, though, given Patrick Cockburn's career of telling it as it is."
--Seymour M. Hersh
Just as Henry Cockburn's beautiful and ingenious paintings were a clue to his distraught mental state, so this intensely moving collaboration with his father and mother illustrates the ways in which suffering and trauma can be the gateway to love, solidarity, and even healing. There is poetry in this prose: the bipolarity of misery and exaltation that Blake understood.
"A compelling, powerful first person account of the gritty realities of living with serious mental illness. Patrick and Henry are utterly real."
-- Mark Vonnegut, M.D., author of Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So and The Eden Express
Together, father and son illuminate how madness can be as generative as it is devastating. This is an inspiring testament to the power of family to save and sustain each other through adversity, one written with great humanity and grace. The tenderness and terror in these pages stayed with me for days. Touchingly, it is Henry who has the last word, and it is one of hope.
--Claire Fontaine, coauthor of Come Back: A Mother and Daughters Journey Through Hell and Back
Henrys Demons is the harrowing yet hopeful story of the descent into schizophrenia of UK journalist Patrick Cockburns son Henry at age 20. Henrys self-reflections are the stuff of raw genius.