Alex Pheby’s Playthings is a visceral and darkly comic portrait of severe mental illness based on the true story of nineteenth-century German judge and patient of Freud, Daniel Paul Schreber. While deftly exploring the ideas of madness and sanity, of reality and delusion, Pheby reflects Schreber’s disordered mind in vertiginous prose, and compassionately reveals the humanity and tragedy of his psychosis.