Books > Inside the Beautiful Inside

Inside the Beautiful Inside

Emily Bullock


29 October 2020









A marine without his ship. A man without his liberty.

When the locks can’t hold James Norris they chain him, and when the chains won’t stay James Norris they fix him to a stake. But they still can’t take the thoughts out of his head. He is a man shackled to his own tragedies: the commission he never took; the family and friends he lost; the lover who betrayed him.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Mutiny on the Bounty – an exploration of love, sanity, suffering, and compassion. Based on the true story of James Norris, an American marine who was chained to a stake for  over ten years in Bethlem, Hospital for the Insane (1800-15).

Will James Norris find what he is hunting for? Can he ever sail free?

Startlingly original and poetic—Bullock combines horror and brutality with unexpected moments of tenderness.

– Observer

The voice she gives to Norris as memories and delusions meld in his disintegrating mind is a haunting one.

– Nick Rennison, Sunday Times, Historical Novels of the Month

Fascinating and compelling–the writing sparked vivid details in my minds eye.

– Lovereading, Book of the Month

It’s 1800. James Norris is imprisoned in Bedlam, physically restrained in the most inhumane way, mentally unstable, taunted by inescapable memories.

– Daily Mail

Madness, freedom, love, rebellion and compassion in C18th Bedlam, post Mutiny on the Bounty. Emily Bullock has dazzling talent.

– Amanda Craig

A turbulent and thrilling voyage on the high seas of madness.

– Ann Morgan (Beside Myself, Crossing Over)

Emily Bullock is a wonderful writer, and in this superbly crafted novel she doesn’t waste a single word as she hurls us headlong through a swirling maze of madness that leads us to the very heart of James Norris.

– Amanda Huggins

A staggering work of fiction: utterly unique, unfathomably powerful, not a word wasted or a sentence spare.

– Elspels

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