The Alarming Palsy of James Orr | Granta

  • Published: 05/07/2018
  • ISBN: 9781783783946
  • 129x20mm
  • 160 pages

The Alarming Palsy of James Orr

Tom Lee

James Orr – husband, father, reliable employee and all round model citizen – wakes one morning to find himself quite transformed.

There’s no way he can go into the office, and the doctors aren’t able to help. Waiting for the affliction to pass, he wanders the idyllic estate where he lives, with its pretty woodland, uniform streets and perfectly manicured lawns. But there are cracks in the veneer. And as his orderly existence begins to unravel, it appears that James himself may not be the man he thought he was.

A story that consistently confounds expectations, The Alarming Palsy of James Orr introduces a writer of extraordinary and disturbing talents.

Gripping, and not a little unsettling

Alastair Mabbot, Sunday Herald

The Author

Tom Lee‘s writing has appeared in the Sunday Times, Esquire and Prospect in the UK, the Dublin Review in Ireland and in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope All Story in the United States, among others. In 2012 he was shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. He has also been awarded the Royal Society of Literature’s Brookleaze Grant and two Arts Council grants for his fiction. He currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing at Goldsmiths College.

More about the author →

From the Same Author

The Bullet

Tom Lee

Like many people, Tom Lee remembers the presence – somewhere out of sight, on the outskirts of town – of the local psychiatric hospital. It was a place that inspired jokes, rumours and dread, a place where the strange and deranged were kept away. But among those people were, at different times, Tom’s own parents.

Afterwards, those times were not much spoken about and before long the hospital closed, as part of the nationwide shutting down of psychiatric institutions. For many years, Tom believed that he had dodged the bullet of the mental illness that had marked the lives of his parents. But then, quite out of the blue, he has a crisis of his own and finds himself returning to the past for clues. The Bullet is an attempt to piece together and understand what happened to his parents and what happened to him. It is also a story about how we have tried and spectacularly failed to care for people suffering with mental illness, and about the terrifying fragility and unknowability of the human mind.

Tom Lee on

Fiction | The Online Edition

The Swimmer

Tom Lee

‘I wondered what an onlooker might make of this man, this scene.’

Fiction | Granta 140

The Alarming Palsy of James Orr

Tom Lee

‘As it was, this gave the impression of two different faces, two different people, welded savagely together.’