Waking Up in Toytown: A Memoir
By (author) John Burnside
In the early 80s, after a decade of drug abuse and borderline mental illness, John Burnside resolved to escape his addictive personality and find calm in a ‘Surbiton of the mind’. But the suburbs are not quite as normal as he had imagined and, as he relapses into chaos, he encounters a homicidal office worker who is obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock and Petula Clark, an old lover, with whom he reprises a troubled, masochistic relationship and, finally, the seemingly flesh-and-blood embodiemnts of all his private phantoms. The sequel to his haunting, celebrated account of a troubled childhood, Waking Up in Toytown is unsettling, touching, oddly romantic and unflinchingly honest.
John Burnside’s last two books were the novel, A Summer of Drowning, shortlisted for the 2011 Costa Award, and his poetry collection, Black Cat Bone, which won both the 2011 Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.