WHAT A PIECE OF WORK book cover   What a Piece of Work
Dorothy Porter

Dustjacket synopsis:

'I've scratched your soul'
   Frank whispers
      fighting the needle
         with clenched tooth
            and clenched claw

'Count to ten, Frank' I say gently
'I've scratched...'
Frank's eyes flickering but still fighting
as he goes under.

"As the new Superintendent at Callan Park Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Peter Cyren must perform medical alchemy - turn diseased minds into healthy ones. But in the case of his own soul, this sacred process works irrevocably in reverse.

"Crackling with style, Dorothy Porter's stunning new work is a poetic masterpiece.

"From the bestseeling author of The Monkey's Mask."

First Paragraph:

Callan Park,
Hospital for the Insane

Tonight, with my best brandy,
I, Doctor Peter Samuel Cyren,
in the Year of Our Lord
Doctor Frederick Norton Manning,
Victorian humanitarian,
and his industrious sidekick,
Sir James Bamet,

Gentlemen, I salute your magnificent legacy Callan Park, Hospital for the Insane.
But where, gentlemen, oh where is the clock you designed for the top of our water-tower?
No one likes that blank space in here.
In some places it helps to know the time.

From the Picador paperback edition, 1999.

About the Author:
Dorothy Porter grew up in Sydney and the Blue Mountains but is now living in Melbourne. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including Driving Too Fast and Crete; two novels for young adults; and two verse novels, Akhenaten and the internationally acclaimed crime thriller, The Monkey's Mask.

The Monkey's Mask won the Age Book of the Year for Poetry, the National Book Council Award for Poetry and the Braille Book of the Year. It has been adapted for stage and radio and is currently being adapted for film. The book has been widely translated and published overseas.

This novel was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2000.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: May 1, 2002.