The Offering by Grace McCleen - review by Charles Wolford

Charles Wolford

Looking for God

The Offering


Sceptre 259pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Police found Madeline Adamson wandering a remote island road on the morning of her fourteenth birthday. Whatever had happened to her was so traumatic that she’d blanked out the previous twelve hours. Eventually, her father committed her to a mental institution. Twenty-one years later, Madeline is still a patient at Lethem Park, and the story opens.

A new therapist has determined to confront the cause of her ‘dissociative amnesia’, starting a game of cat-and-mouse – he wants to get inside her story to build his career, she wants to get out of Lethem Park. The doctor seems antagonistic, but soon a suspicion arises: can we trust Madeline, or is she psychotic? 

Grace McCleen had a strict religious upbringing. The fact that she links religion to psychosis – ‘behind both faith and delusion lies unshakeable belief’ – demonstrates an elastic mind capable of entertaining a range of perspectives. As a stylist, she likes piling up details, but when she simplifies she achieves

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