Intelligent, intense and refreshingly honest, Flynn Laukonen is the perfect protagonist for Tabitha Suzuma's beautifully-written debut novel.
Entitled 'A Note of Madness', the narrative is centred around a perfectionist pianist, burdened by the expectations experienced when studying in a 'place where everyone strides with purpose'.
Faced with the challenges of independent living and university life, Flynn experiences an awkwardness compounded by a range of emotions and actions which perplex both himself and those who care for him.
Set at South Kensington's other competitive college, the story offers refreshing insights into the poorly-described condition of bipolar affective disorder, taken from both the doctor and patient perspectives.
The transition between monologue and narrative is especially effective in portraying the difficulties, and indeed, the confusion felt by Flynn and those around him. The use of monologue enhances the immediacy, capturing the awkwardness that characterises Flynn's disposition. This immediacy, depicted in carefully-chosen jargon-free prose makes the experience of his 'madness' infinitely easier to understand.
Words cannot describe how lucid and readable this story is. Given that one in four people in the UK suffers from a mental health problem, millions of us are going to either live with depression or a depressive personality sooner or later. A little understanding, (given the difficulties faced in getting emotional disturbances explored in a sympathetic manner) will go a very long way.