John McPake and the Sea Beggars

By Stuart Campbell

Format: Paperback

Soon after John McPake's marriage falls apart he starts hearing voices. An obsession with the works of Breughel develops into a full blown delusion, and he assumes the personna of Johannes, a 16th century Dutch weaver who travels with his friends, Balthazar and Cornelius, in pursuit of his son who has been abducted by the Spanish mercenaries.

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Sandstone Press Ltd

Sandstone Press was established in 2002 based on the firm belief that an international publishing house could be based in the Highlands of Scotland. We publish fiction and non-fiction books and ebooks. The company is characterised by high editorial and design standards, internationalism, and a strong engagement with the contemporary world using modern methods. Sandstone Press books have won or been shortlisted for many literary prizes including the Man Booker, Commonwealth, Arthur C Clarke, Creative Scotland, Green Carnation, Saltire Society, Petrona, Bill Rollinson Prize for Landscape and Tradition, Boardman Tasker, Not the Booker, and Desmond Elliott Awards.

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Details

John McPake, a former teacher, has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Soon after his marriage fell apart he started hearing voices and eventually moved into an Edinburgh hostel for men with enduring mental health problems. An earlier obsession with the works of Breughel develops into a full blown delusion, and he assumes the personna of Johannes, a 16th century Dutch weaver who travels with his friends, Balthazar and Cornelius, in pursuit of his son who has been abducted by the Spanish mercenaries. This is an echo of John's real life quest to be reunited with his brother. People with a diagnosis of psychosis often hear multiple voices. To the hearer the voices are as real as if they were listening to someone standing next to them. The voices, often unpleasant, can have completely different characters. John's voices jostle and bitch with each other for the right to tell his story.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Sandstone Press Ltd
Publication Date 19 Jun 2014
ISBN 9781908737694
Number of Pages 320

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Press Reviews

'A dark, comical story of seeming no-hopers which moves seamlessly between modern day Edinburgh and 16th Century Holland and opens up the world of those who struggle through life labelled as mentally ill to comic and touching effect. An unexpected gem - John McPake and the Sea Beggars explores the potentially dark and despairing world of the chronically mentally ill. It is witty, erudite and completely absorbing, providing a huge rich canvas of historical detail and a touching array of human foibles. A real treasure and a truly great book. Jo Brand

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