Winner of the Society of Authors, Betty Trask Award, 2012.
What makes life worth getting out of bed for?
Mal isn't like the other kids. He makes an impression on everyone he meets. So remarkable is his childhood that his family wait for the incredible things he seems born to do.
Then one day he goes to bed, never to get out again.
Recounted by Mal's younger brother, Bed is a coming-of-age story like no other. It chronicles the metamorphosis of one extraordinary man, and explores what love, loss and family can do to you in a lifetime.
Enchanting, funny, surreal and heartwarming, David Whitehouse's novel presents one of the most thrilling and unique voices to emerge in literary fiction in years.
David Whitehouse was born in 1981. His journalism has appeared in Sunday Times Style, the Independent, Esquire, Time Out, Observer Magazine and has won awards from The Times and the Evening Standard. His first short film, ‘The Archivist’, screened at film festivals including Seattle and Berlin. Bed is his first novel. David lives in London.
‘Masterful … This accomplished debut offers an offbeat insight into the lives of a family dealing with morbid obesity… [Whitehouse] maintains a tone of subtlety and grace, pulling a distinguished and accessible story out of a profoundly strange experience.’ Publishers Weekly
‘…this is a gorgeous, heartrending book, a book full of sentences so apt and well wrought, I sometimes had to read them twice…Whitehouse’s prose is pure sparkle.’ San Francisco Chronicle
‘For a novel with such a simple conceit, the emotional power David Whitehouse’s Bed carries is immense…Barely a page passes without an unexpected flash of insight or a passage of vivid description, which makes the familiar fresh and magical. Whitehouse invests a tale of grotesque squalor with beauty, turning a story of inertia into something compelling and a narrative infused with aching sadness into something rewarding. Halfway through reading this, I wrote in my notes: “Best debut novel of the year?” Later, I crossed out the word “debut” and the question mark.’ Sun Herald
‘Totally extraordinary … a brilliant idea, superbly executed … extraordinarily vivid and endlessly fascinating. One of the most original and exciting novels we’ve read in ages.’ (Top Ten list) Heat
‘Remarkable, nuanced and coy.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘It’s tempting to dismiss Mal as a self-absorbed git, but David Whitehouse teases out a complex tale of family. And he manages it with so much humour. There is so much humanity in this book. It is rich with the universal themes of belonging, love, desire, and duty. And the final pages will have you weeping.’ Sunday Telegraph
A masterful balance of displaced emotion, black humor, and reportage, this accomplished debut offers an offbeat insight into the lives of a family dealing with morbid obesity. Malcolm "Mal" Ede is the ultimate nonconformist, and, on his 25th birthday, he decides to go to bed and stay there forever. His increasingly newsworthy protest of the idea of "a mediocre existence" of work, bills, marriage, and kids, and his slide into stasis-induced gross obesity is told from the point of view of his unnamed younger brother, who treats readers to a glimpse of the lives that are touched by the enigmatic Mal. In each of the members of Mal's immediate family, his avoidance of life is reflected his mother, who thrives on martyrdom; his engineer father, who carries with him guilt for a fatal mining disaster; and his brother, stoic in every regard except his unrequited love for Mal's girlfriend, Lou. The central question of the novel is "why?" asked by the journalists who call for interviews, the gawkers who camp out on the lawn, and by those closest to Mal. Whitehouse deals with material that threatens to tip into the overwrought or clownish, but he maintains a tone of subtlety and grace, pulling a distinguished and accessible story out of a profoundly strange experience.