Picador £8.99 (291pp) £8.54 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Psychopath Test, By Jon Ronson
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
Friday 06 January 2012
Continuing in his quirky vein of Gonzo journalism, Ronson exchanges the study of US military probes into the paranormal (The Men Who Stare at Goats) for a study of psychopathy which interrogates not just what it means to be a psychopath but also the psychiatric professionals who measure the term and the sliding scale of psychopathy in society.
Ronson's usual levity and self-deprecating wit sits alongside his serious-minded absorption. His journey is weird, fearless, original and hugely gripping, taking him from Scientology to Broadmoor to a code-cracking quest in Sweden.
The ground shifts, the grey area expands and the neat, complacent distinctions between sanity, eccentricity and psychopathy are left a little more unhinged.
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