For those of us who can't afford our own sensory deprivation units, Ellen Gilchrist's The Anna Papers is a cheap but effective substitute. Instead of going to all the bother and expense of suspending yourself in a vat of lukewarm saline solution, and excluding every vestige of light and sound, now all you need is a small Faber book and you can deprive your brain of any kind of stimulation – instantly. You don't even need a towel.
The Anna Papers is a tedious story of a woman writer and her clothes; her relatives and their clothes; and her lovers and some more clothes. Whenever a new character is presented to us, and we ask, 'What does he look like? What's on his mind? Does he have an