W-3

Bette Howland

£14.99

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Picador
24 June 2021
ISBN: 9781529035872
Hardback

From the publisher

'W-3 is one hell of a debut' Lucy Scholes, Paris Review

'At moments dazzlingly and daringly written' Rachel Cook, Guardian

'Howland is finally getting the recognition that she deserves
' Sarah Hughes, iNews

W-3 is a small psychiatric ward in a large university hospital, a world of pills and passes dispensed by an all-powerful staff, a world of veteran patients with grab-bags of tricks, a world of disheveled, moment-to-moment existence on the edge of permanence.

Bette Howland was one of those patients. In 1968, Howland was thirty-one, a single mother of two young sons, struggling to support her family on the part-time salary of a librarian; and labouring day and night at her typewriter to be a writer. One afternoon, while staying at her friend Saul Bellow's apartment, she swallowed a bottle of pills. W-3 is both an extraordinary portrait of the community of Ward 3 and a record of a defining moment in a writer's life. The book itself would be her salvation: she wrote herself out of the grave.

This beautiful edition features an original introduction by Yiyun Li, author of Where Reasons End.

'For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin-real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life could begin. At last it had dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.'