Heavy Light: A Journey Through Madness, Mania and Healing

Heavy Light: A Journey Through Madness, Mania and Healing

After a lifetime of ups and downs, Horatio Clare was committed to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act.

From hypomania in the Alps, to a complete breakdown and a locked ward in Wakefield, this is a gripping account of how the mind loses touch with reality, how we fall apart and how we can be healed - or not - by treatment. A story of the wonder and intensity of the manic experience, as well as its peril and strangeness, it is shot through with the love, kindness, humour and care of those who deal with someone who becomes dangerously ill.

Partly a tribute to those who looked after Horatio, from family and friends to strangers and professionals, and partly an investigation into how we understand and treat acute crises of mental health, Heavy Light's beauty, power and compassion illuminate a fundamental part of human experience. It asks urgent questions about mental health that affect each and every one of us.


  • "A record of the bravest, most perilous, most intrepid journey that any human being can ever make. It is stricken, moving, urgent, crucial . . . A luminous, beautiful achievement."

    Niall Griffiths

  • "An extraordinary book: deeply moving, darkly funny and hugely powerful."

    Robert Macfarlane

Horatio Clare


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Publication details:

Heavy Light: A Journey Through Madness, Mania and Healing
Chatto & Windus (2021)


Translation rights:

Zoe Waldie
Rogers, Coleridge and White
20 Powis Mews
London W11 1JN