The Accidental Tourist
by Anne Tyler
A man goes slowly mad as trusted relationships run out of steam. The beauty of the novel is that we realise he’s disintegrating; he doesn’t.
Under the Volcano
by Malcolm Lowry
Reading this is like climbing a volcano. It’s not easy, and I tried and failed several times. One you’re in, though – you’re in. There is no book on alcoholism like it: you approach the crater, and look right down into the inferno.
by Nina Bawden
A 1970s children’s chestnut. Carrie is an evacuee, sent to a tiny village in Wales. Her war is not about bombs and the Home Guard: it’s the conflict of terminally isolated, troubled adults who have made a hell for themselves. It’s a glorious, wise book.