Henry's Demons, By Patrick and Henry Cockburn


It must have been a courageous decision to embark on this dual, first-person account of schizophrenia, penned by Henry Cockburn, a 20-year-old sufferer, and Patrick Cockburn, his father (and foreign correspondent for The Independent) who bears witness.

Without its purity of purpose, it might have strayed into misery-memoir territory. As it stands, it is a startling account of mental illness from within and without.

Cockburn Senior provides the timeline, context and guilt-laden self-questioning, but it is Henry's simple eloquence that takes the reader into an unknown world, dangerous, horrifying, funny and wretched by turns. "Being locked up for so long really damages your spirits", he concludes. "You feel forgotten."