What are the best books where a character descends into madness?

asked by Anonymous
250 contributors
12 solutions
  1. 28

    #1The Yellow Wallpaper

    The Yellow Wallpaper

    The Yellow Wallpaper is a classic fiction book written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman with Elaine Hedges for the Afterword, and Maggie O'Farrell for the Introduction. First published in 1892 by Virago Modern Classics and republished in 2006.


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    Pari Lobo
    Written on May 4, 2018
    "I had to read this book in a college English class. I'm usually not that interested in books we have to read for school, but this one was short and terribly interesting. If you want to know what it was like having a mental illness a long time ago, this is a great place to look."
  2. 26

    #2The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar is a book by Sylvia Plath that tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a young woman living in New York, and her descent into madness while trapped in the suffocating "bell jar" that is depression. 


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    Sean Howard
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "Was pleasantly surprised that though this book is about the author's depression it is not a depressing book to read and is well written. Matter of fact there were places when I actually laughed and I enjoyed reading about her battle and recovery from her mental illness."
  3. 24

    #3Requiem for a Dream

    Requiem for a Dream
    Requiem for a Dream is a book by Hubert Sellby which centers on Marion, Tyron, and Harry who dreams of becoming rich led them in selling illegal drugs, but their product made them addicts and their life became more miserable.


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    Lauren Sanders
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "This is a interesting read about a few characters that get hooked on herione and give storys about their point of views doing the process of it. They have also turned it into a movie which was also great."
  1. 23

    #4Wide Sargasso Sea

    Wide Sargasso Sea
    Wide Sargasso Sea is Jean Rhys' novel about Antoinette, a Creole heiress in 1830s Jamaica who married an Englishman, who later forced Antoinette to become an ideal Victorian lady.

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    Hao Shi
    Written on May 6, 2018
    "Wide Sargasso Sea is a powerful examination of psychology. I read this for a psychology class, in fact. It's ostensibly a romance, but it's a dark one - a powerful examination of identity, culture, and psychological limits. Antoinette, the heroine, descends into madness as she's forced to adapt to the culture of Victorian England. A must-read!"
  2. 21

    #5Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted

    Girl, Interrupted is written by Susanna Kaysen. With over 100 pages, this book is first published in 1994 by Vintage. In 2000, this book became a bestseller because of a movie based on this book.


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    Bryan Medina
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "Girl, Interrupted was not my cup of tea. I found it difficult to follow. The character's descent into madness made it difficult for me to track the plot lines from chapter to chapter. I found myself rereading sections just to make sure I understood what I read. "
  3. 21

    #6One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    This is one of the most imports novels of the 60's and from American history. The unforgettable story of a mental ward and the people living there and the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and McMurphy.

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    David Watkins
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "I have read this book many times since watching Jack Nicholson's film as a teenager. The story is just so powerful and the novel blows the film out of the water. It is an incredible portrayal of the strength of the human spirit in the face of madness. "
  4. 19

    #7The Idiot

    The Idiot
    The Idiot is a philosophical novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, first published in 1869. It tells the story of Prince Lec Nikolayevich Myshkin, who returns to Russia after spending years in a sanatorium in Switzerland.

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    Eugene Ellis
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "This very powerful novel portrays perfectly how non extreme problems like choosing between two girls who you love can really mess up your moral compass and slowly turn you into something you'd never think you'd ascend too. Masterpiece of a book "
  5. 18

    #8Crime and Punishment

    Crime and Punishment
    Crime and Punishment is a classic of Russian literature by Fyodor Dostoyevsky published in 1866. It tells the story of ex-student Rodion Raskolnikov who plans to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker to liberate himself from poverty.


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    Charles Campbell
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "If you're looking for a book where a character descends into madness, Crime and Punishment is a perfect classic that is sure to keep you hooked."
  6. 16

    #9Notes From Underground

    Notes From Underground
    In Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoyevsky tells the story of an unnamed narrator who retreated underground, fully isolating himself from society. It exhibits Dostoyevsky's thoughts on society and the human condition.

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    Jacqueline Beck
    Written on April 26, 2018
    "Last month, my book club read Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It's a beautifully written book about the main character and the narrator who deals with isolation from society that leads to mental illness and other issues."
  7. 15


    Steppenwolf is a novel by Hermann Hesse originally published in Germany in 1927. It is a mix of autobiography and psychoanalysis, as well as a critical view of the intellectual hypocrisy of the period.

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    Susan Barrett
    Written on April 25, 2018
    "This is one of the strangest books that I have ever read. I don't feel like it's really written for people like me. The main character is a loner and introvert who uses drugs and often masks that with euphemisms. If you feel like you are part of the counterculture or against the flow so to speak then I believe that this book would be for you. It's definitely very interesting and anti current culture but it wasn't for me."
  8. 14

    #11The Blind Owl

    The Blind Owl
    The Blind Owl is an Iranian classic horror fiction novel written by Sadegh Hedayat. This cultural fiction book is first published in 1937. 

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    Aaryan Chatterjee
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "never heard of this book. the link does present this in an interesting light that does make me want to read it though"
  9. 13

    #12Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    A father and his son start a motorcycle trip across the Northwest of America, the starting point of a moving and penetration meditation about the lives they, and we all, live. 


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    Yi Chen
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "The title does not do this book justice as it is more a philosophical novel than a book about madness. It is more of a mental health issue and does touch more on what's in the mind and what everything means. Very hard to get through, I nearly did not finish it. "


Best What are the best books where a character descends into madness
1The Yellow WallpaperBooks 28 Paid
2The Bell JarBooks 26 Paid
3Requiem for a DreamBooks 24 Paid
4Wide Sargasso SeaBooks 23 Paid
5Girl, InterruptedBooks 21 Paid
6One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestBooks 21 Paid
7The IdiotBooks 19 Paid
8Crime and PunishmentBooks 18 Paid
9Notes From UndergroundBooks 16 Paid
10SteppenwolfBooks 15 Paid

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