Asylum Piece by Anna Kavan


Asylum Piece
Anna Kavan


A collection of stories, mostly interlinked and largely autobiographical, chart the descent of the narrator from the onset of neurosis to final incarceration in a Swiss clinic.

Kavan struggled with a heroine addiction along with events of hopelessness leading her to psychiatric institutions. Asylum Piece provides a collection of intimate writings of her time in an asylum. A bleak, poignant expose into her deepest thoughts, self-analysis in a plush tasteful prose.

I couldn’t help but feel intrusive as I read Asylum Piece, a front row seat of her kaleidoscope of thoughts as her mind aimlessly wonders from paranoia with heavy ominous tones. Despite the disturbing nature of her writings they have a lovely ethereal feel which creates a conflict bordering on a brutal beauty. Insightful collection of a woman allowing herself to be exposed in all her vulnerable nakedness unveiling her mind to the world.

“I know that I’m doomed and I’m not going to struggle against my fate. I am only writing this down so that when you do not see me any more you will know that my enemy has finally triumphed.”

Crazy with a straitjacket in a Psychiatric

“But to whom can one appeal when one does not even know where to find the judge? How can one ever hope to prove one’s innocence when there is no means of knowing of what one has been accused? No, there’s no justice for people like us in the world: all that we can do is to suffer as bravely as possible and put our oppressors to shame.”


Recommendation: 4/5


3 thoughts on “Asylum Piece by Anna Kavan

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