I didn't manage to catch all five of hisTalking Heads monologues serialised by the BBC, but they were extremely funny and well observed. I love his long short stories The Clothes They Stood Up In and The Laying on of Hands, as well as his account of an elderly lady who parked her van in front of his house and proceeded to live there for several years.
Now Bennett has a new book out, Untold Stories, about his mother's mental illness. Reading this extract from the Telegraph struck a chord, became my mother too began to imagine that there were spies everywhere (tapping the phone, intercepting the mail, everything a plot against her or her family - even my husband losing a legal case across the world in Malaysia was her fault according to her warped logic).
Bennett's mother suffered from depression, a condition which Bennett says is largely ignored by the medical profession:
Depression, which is much the most common mental illness, doesn't even qualify as such and mustn't be so labelled, perhaps because it's routine and relatively unshowy; but maybe, too, because it's so widespread not calling depression mental illness helps to sidestep the stigma.It makes me deeply angry that any kind of mental illness carries a stigma because it makes it so hard for suffers to seek the treatment they need. This is a corner I would love to fight myself, and I'm glad that Bennett is writing about it.
More on Bennett's new book from the Guardian.