In the author's latest novel, The Devil in Silver, a man is mistakenly committed to a mental hospital where a buffalo-headed monster stalks patients at night. LaValle tells Fresh Air why he picked monsters, about his family history of mental illness and how he had his own brush with psychological problems.
Nathaniel Lachenmeyer has written the new book, “The Outsider: A Journey Into My Father’s Struggle with Madness” (Broadway Books). His father, Charles, was a professor of sociology who lived a normal suburban life with his family until the onset of schizophrenia. The disease destroyed his life: he lost his job, his family, and ended up homeless. Nathaniel corresponded with his father until it became too difficult to continue. After learning of his father’s death in 1995, he decided to find out what happened to him.