Nominated for the Guardian First Book Award
Shortlisted for the Gladstone Writers In Residence scheme
Neriste and Donna both work at the notorious Cedar Hospital Heathley, a secure psychiatric unit that is understaffed and underfunded – a place where doors are kept locked, where the staff carry panic alarms, and where even a pen has to be treated as a weapon
As both women struggle with their lives inside and outside the hospital they are drawn to Nathan Rivers, a patient who committed a terrible crime a long time ago. They, and others, are beginning to wonder – does he still belong within the walls of the hospital?
Brick Mother is a dramatic and emotive tale that peers into the lives of some of the most forgotten in our society. SJ Bradley manages to weave the plot of a thriller around the most simple and understandable of human emotions. Our ability to empathise and our willingness to doubt are turned against us in this stunning debut novel that is unflinching in its portrayal, assessment and conclusions.
“Brick Mother, SJ Bradley’s gripping debut, takes us inside the heart of a psychiatric institution with neither sentimentality nor sensationalism, but rather bringing us the intertwining stories of real characters struggling with their lives, on whichever “side” of the fine line separating inmates from staff they happen to find themselves. I couldn’t put it down.” – Tania Hershman
“Brick Mother is a stunning debut. It manages at once to be both thought-provoking and terrifying” – Antony Clavane
“Her story takes us past bus stations, housing offices, bleakly beautiful moors and uninspiring high streets full of pound shops and arcades. And it shows us vulnerable people whose needs are not always met by the systems designed to care for them. However, despite the grim subject matter, Bradley writes with an obvious affection for her characters, balancing empathy for their situations with a wry and perhaps distinctively northern humour” – Jenna Isherwood, Quadrapheme
“Brick Mother may be one of the best novels ever written about work” – 3 a.m. Magazine
“Thought-provoking social-realism… [that] will stay with you many weeks after finishing the last chapter. Bradley has written a seriously good novel” – Writers Little Helper
Currently out of print. Please contact me if you would like an ebook version.