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Submitted Literature

Nothing Purple, Nothing Black

By Paul Crawford


Paul Crawford’s 2002 novel examines, through the characters of Harvey, a lapsed priest, and Crystal, a schizophrenic recently released from long-term asylum care, themes of love, loss, religious belief and restriction, and different forms of  madness.  As an ex-psychiatric nurse, Crawford sensitively and sympathetically portrays both Crystal’s re-emerging psychotic symptoms and the problems with community care following the closure of asylums.  The novel has been optioned for film with the British producer Jack Emery at Dramahouse. 


Published and available in paperback and Kindle versions: Mad Hatter Books Ltd 2013.

Key Themes:

  • Isolation
  • Revealing Reads
  • Schizophrenia
  • Societal Pressure

Significant Quotes / Pages

10 – “Crystal was no patient.  At least not now that England’s mental institutions had been boarded up, sold off or demolished.  The mad and the sane shared the same bathwater of life these days.  They shared the community.  Besides, who could pretend that madness, even Crystal’s own peculiar brand, could be contained?  No, his madness had no boundaries.  Walls could not keep it in – never could.  And, like rain, it had its seasons”


59 – “Harvey thought that a no-nonsense approach was best with a character like Crystal.  He was mad.  So what?  It was best not to make so much of it.  He couldn’t help feeling for him, though.  After all, who cared about the mad?  They were invisible, often homeless.  Besides, he might hide in such company.  After all that had  happened to him, bedlam could give him the cover he needed to pass unobserved.  All he needed to do was let his stubble grow a little longer, talk strangely or not at all, and dress a little incongruously, if he was not doing that already.  Then he would more than likely disappear from view.”

103 – “The last time Crystal had looked for such pickings he had found part of a patent’s medical file.  He had read it.  It was full of notes about a burnt-out schizophrenic.  Was he a burnt-out schizophrenic?  Burned out like firewood?  Surely not.  His illness still blossomed.  The voices still raged and abused him with foul mouthing.  Most likely they raged because he didn’t take his medication.  But the tablets had been turning him into a husk of a man.

Crystal’s fear and suspiciousness were high.  His strange need to waste other people’s time still bubbled up inside.  The Time Wasters forced him to carry on with the task or face the penalty.  And he knew what that was.  Christ, he knew what they had in store for him.

Sunday had always been distressing for Crystal”


Reference: Paul, Crawford. 2002. Nothing Purple, Nothing Black. Lewes: The Book Guild - Published and available in paperback and Kindle versions: Mad Hatter Books Ltd 2013., 2002


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Friday 20th March 2009