7 Mental Health Themed Novels

Here are 7 mental health themed books from the last 90 years:

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)

Mrs Dalloway

Set during a single day in June 1923, Mrs Dalloway’s themes include mental health. One of the main characters, Septimus Warren Smith, is a veteran of WWI, who is suffering from shell shock. Click here to read my review.

Tender Is The Night by Scott Fitzgerald (1934)

Tender Is The Night

Protagonist Dick Diver is a talented psychoanalyst, whose wife Nicole is also his patient. Scott Fitzgerald wrote Tender Is the Night when his wife Zelda was hospitalised for schizophrenia. It was his fourth and final completed novel.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kasey (1962)

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The book’s narrator is ‘Chief’ Bromden, a Native American psychiatric hospital patient. Other characters include Randle Patrick Murphy, who faked insanity to escape a prison sentence, and Mildred Ratched, the hospital’s draconian head nurse.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

The Bell Jar
Protagonist Esther Greenwood’s year in the ‘bell jar’ as she describes it, culminates in her being institutionalised in a mental health facility. This erudite and humorous semi-autobiographical novel adeptly explores an emotionally disturbed mind. Click here to read my review.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (1987)

Norwegian Wood
Norwegian Wood sees protagonist Toru Watanabu reflecting on his college days in Tokyo. During this period Toru had established a relationship with a beautiful but emotionally troubled girl called Naoko. Naoko was to spend time in a secluded mountain sanatorium.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham (1998)

The Hours
This Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner follows 3 generations of women who have been affected by the Virginia Woolf novel, Mrs Dalloway. The women are: Virginia Woolf herself, Mrs Brown, the wife of a WWII veteran, and the bisexual Clarissa Vaughan.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (2011)

The Marriage Plot
Set during the 1980s, The Marriage Plot is about 3 college friends from Brown University – Madeleine, Leonard and Mitchell. Leonard has manic depression. This is affecting his work, friendships and romantic relationships.

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My latest novel, Symbiosis, is about identical twin girls called Talulah and Taliah. One of its themes is mental health.

Symbiosis

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