Chapter 4 Authorial Afterlives: Ghost-writing in David Peace’s PATIENT X (2018)
This chapter considers how the capacity of the specter as a double suggests unresolved terms in David Peace’s Patient X (2018). Doubling is etymologically connected to the spectral and the uncanniness of the specter can alert the living to its pervading presence in their contemporary world. The dynamic of this relationship forms a central concern of Peace’s short story cycle. In each story, spectral effects impact on notions of the self, challenging the singular ‘I’ and raising the possibility of an/other. Through a subtle noise, movement, interactive vision or tactile encounter, the textual presentation of the specter generates questions regarding identity and existentialism in Peace’s protagonist. Across the text, the spectral takes many forms, functioning to highlight the unexpected nature of the return, and to raise questions about the self and the Other, the individual and society, and understandings of our historical situatedness.