Midlife crisis

A middle-aged man in crisis: How to Make a Bomb, by Rupert Thomson, reviewed

Philip Notman is going through what looks like a midlife crisis. Travelling home from an academic conference, he feels sick and disoriented to the point where he is barely able to function. Back in London, he can’t quite explain to his wife Anya, or indeed to himself, what’s ailing him. Is it just me, he wonders, or is everything unbearably toxic? Instead of working on his next book during a sabbatical, he sets off on a journey in search of a remedy. Rupert Thomson’s new novel has no full stops. In their place are paragraph breaks, with sentences abandoned on the page, increasing the sense of dislocation: Everything sick, he

The midlife crisis spread: why are the affluent so depressed?

‘You are here’, as those signs in windswept carparks unhelpfully point out. Yup. No mistaking it, you will tend to think glumly as you look at them. I had the same feeling when I looked at a new report from no less an institution than America’s National Bureau of Economic Research. The report is called The Midlife Crisis. It tells us that in the western world, one’s forties and early fifties are associated with problems with sleep, clinical depression and suicidal thoughts, disabling headaches and dependence on alcohol, alongside a decline in basic measures of life satisfaction. Well, fancy. I don’t know about clinical depression and suicidal thoughts, I should