When life gets a little crazy, I find that reading about lives far less in touch with reality than my own are like a breath of fresh air. No invisible spirits invade my rooms at night and drink my beverages. I see no spectral arm raise a rose to an invisible nose. And I have never torched my domestic staff in a fiery inferno I set myself to eradicate the form of life that will replace humanity. I am also happy to report that I do not have syphilis in any form much less of a strain so virulent that my delusions become the stuff of a volume of the Art of the Novella series.
This volume actually contains three versions of the same story - the 1885 "Letter from a Madman" and the 1886 and 1887 versions of the story. The tones may vary but what is clear is that the substance of the story remains the same with such fidelity that the ownership the author felt for the material appears personal. One man's "descent into madness" assumes a pseudo-reality as he offers reasons for what is happening to him that are difficult to believe but are so consistently expressed, especialy given the three iterations in this volume, that a reader can easily slip into a place where they entertain believing his story. Kind of like my reaction to The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Go ahead. Tell me it's not alright to compare Waters to de Maupassant.