The tale entire presents itself as the transcript of 18 double-sided tapes, all of which have been recorded by a 50+ paranoid schizophrenic.
The making of these tapes began as his attempt — an aide memoir and thus a means of bringing some order to his fragmented thoughts — to discover the 'something wrong' that he feels is hiding away somewhere within his mind.
Cataloguing all that he feels might be important he describes his day-to-day life in a residential home in a seedy seaside town. He reports too on the puzzling behaviour of the town's inhabitants, along with that of the staff and the other residents of the home.
While he tries to work out what it is that is wrong there is a robbery, arson, and a local girl is murdered. All of which he initially suspects himself being responsible for. Then he helps an evicted girl move into a stone hut, and this action on behalf of another frees him from his self-suspicion.
The 'something wrong' that he had subconsciously registered, but belatedly realises with the arrival of this year's statement, is that the trust fund that his late father created for his welfare is being used to pay for his enforced stay in the for-profit residential home.
While he works out what to do, if not to get off Section 41 of the Mental Health Act, at least to stop his trust fund being further depleted, piece by piece he discloses what he did to get himself placed on a Home Office Section. In the making of escape plans he tries not to draw suspicion onto himself, get himself prematurely hauled back to Secure.
Having examined all the options he eventually, with the unwitting help of his solicitor, absconds and sets himself up in a bedsit in a small market town. Until the last of his savings run out and he takes to the road, the tapes finding their way to a campaigning mental health charity. Hence the transcription, hence this book.
"Robert’s voice in this novel is as compelling as the voice of Dostoyevsky’s narrator in Notes from Underground. In both cases the speaker is an outsider who sees too clearly the shortcomings of the world that won’t accept him. " Brian Daldorph: Coal City Review (Kansas, USA)