The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

There is no cure for being alive.' Thus speaks Dr David McBride, a psychiatrist for whom death exerts an unusual draw. As a young child he witnessed the death of his six-year-old brother and it is this traumatic event which has shaped his own personality and choice of profession. One day a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is admitted to his hospital. She is unusually reticent and it is not until he recalls a painting by Caravaggio that she finally yields up her story. We learn of Elizabeth Cruikshank's dereliction of trust, and the man she has lost, through David's narration. As her story unfolds, David finds his own life being touched by a sense that the 'other side' of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him, too. Set partly in Rome, ‘The Other Side of You’ explores the theme of redemption through love and art, which has become a hallmark of Salley Vickers's acclaimed work, which includes ‘Mr Golightly's Holiday’ and ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’.

Umbrella by Will Self

For half a century Audrey Death has been in a state of semi-consciousness. Severed from the world of the living after falling victim to Encephalitis lethargica, she has languished in Friern Barnet Mental Hospital. Then, in 1971, maverick psychiatrist Dr Zack Busner arrives. Audrey's experiences of a bygone Edwardian London: her socialist lover, her involvement with the Suffragists, and her work in a munitions factory during the First World War, alternate with Dr Busner's attempts to bring her back to life with a new and powerful drug. His investigations lead to revelations that are both shocking and tragic, and which will return to haunt him decades later.