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Tuesday 20 November 2018

Author John Boyne reveals 'dark night of the soul'

Anger: Novelist John Boyne. Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images
Anger: Novelist John Boyne. Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

Writer John Boyne, who became an overnight literary star with publication of his novel The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, yesterday revealed he took a deliberate overdose following the break-up of his relationship.

In a moving interview, he recalled "one of those long dark nights of the soul" when he found himself in hospital having taken too many pills.

He said it was a Friday night when he came to the conclusion that his former husband had become close to someone else.

The Dublin-born writer told journalist Brendan O'Connor, who is hosting the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio One, that he felt both "very worthless and very alone".

"Nothing seemed to matter without him there beside me. For everything that I took, within half an hour I was calling an ambulance. It was a 'cry for help'," he added.

The acclaimed novelist recalls little of that time but he did remember not being able to talk in the ambulance, adding that the paramedic who was treating him was "helpful, supportive and funny".

The experience of the relationship breaking down was shattering.

"It made me feel very worthless to be honest and I still feel that way. I felt that because he wasn't there even when that happened.

"It was actually 11 years filled with a lot of happiness."

He conceded he was possibly "not the easiest person to live with and I'm sure I'm a terrible monster at home most of the time".

Now he is "actively trying to move past anger towards acceptance".

Boyne has written 11 novels for adults and five for younger readers, including The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas - a New York Times number one best-seller which was later adapted for a film.

His latest novel, A Ladder to the Sky, published by Doubleday, is set in the literary world and has already been met with significant acclaim. He was awarded the Hennessy Literary 'Hall of Fame' Award in 2012.

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