Speed reading - Memoir

In Heavy Light (Chatto & Windus, £16.99; Tablet price £15.29), Horatio Clare documents his descent into madness, his experience of being sectioned and how he found his way back to health and his family. Clare is convinced that his manic episodes were related to cannabis use, stress and overwork. He resisted taking the drugs he was prescribed (afraid they would affect his creativity) and decided to avoid the triggers that caused his psychosis. This is a frank account of his journey and how regular therapy, rather than drugs, helped his healing.

Tracey Thorn’s My Rock ’n’ Roll Friend (Canongate, £16.99; Tablet price £15.29) is a searing critique of sexism in the music industry. Thorn meets Lindy Morrison, the female drummer with the Australian band The Go-Betweens, in London in 1983. Morrison is 11 years older than Thorn: loud, forthright and vulnerable. Throughout their friendship, Thorn is disturbed by how men attempt to diminish Morrison’s contribution to the band and her musical influence. Thorn sets the record straight in this generous and empowering tribute to a fellow musician. 

The third part of Deborah Levy’s “living autobiography”, Real Estate (Hamish Hamilton, £10.99; Tablet price £9.89), a feminist meditation on writing, ageing, loneliness and letting go, also features patronising men. Despite Levy’s literary success, a fellowship in Paris and frequent invitations abroad, financial success eludes her. Levy continues to live in her crumbling north London flat and rents a shed to write in. She dreams of owning “a grand old house” with a pomegranate tree and fountains in the garden, before concluding, “my books are my real estate”. A refreshing and compelling read.

Originally published by The Tablet