'A very fine first novel. Dawson writes very well, with . . . a poetic perception of how tremulous is the distinction between the mad world and the sane.' - Glasgow Herald
'A remarkably talented first novel . . . Miss Dawson is neither sentimental nor sensational . . . Her heroine is a convincing and sympathetic character, and when her mind begins to shift into the nightmare perspective of schizophrenia the writing creates an atmosphere of quiet terror.' - Observer
'Cool, short, tender and occasionally as prettily ruthless as the impact of a stiletto heel . . . twice as alarming because everything is implied rather than explicit.' - Tatler
'A cool, clever, well-constructed novel about the nature of reality . . .
Miss Dawson writes very well indeed . . . [B]rilliant.' - Penelope Mortimer, Sunday Times
'A novel about madness which succeeds completely.' - Daily Telegraph
'A little masterpiece.' - Bookman
'I wanted the knack of existing. I did not know the rules.' So says Josephine, the heroine of Jennifer Dawson's remarkable novel, an exploration of a young woman's mental illness that met with universal critical acclaim and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize as the best novel of the year. After suffering a breakdown following the death of her mother, Josephine finds herself confined to an institution where patients are 'treated' by such means as electroshock therapy and lobotomies. But when she falls in love with Alasdair, a fellow patient she meets on the grassy bank of the ha-ha, she realizes that her recovery will have to be on her own defiant terms. Inspired by the author's own breakdown and hospitalization, The Ha-Ha
(1961) remains a moving and powerful examination of mental illness. This new edition includes an afterword by the author and an introduction by John Sutherland.