Reissue to follow up publication of Paul Bailey's new novel Kitty and Virgil. Both `Peter Smart's Confessions' and `Gabriel's Lament' were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The eponymous hero of Peter Smart's Confessions, an unhappy husband and none-too-successful actor, is writing after a suicide attempt. Peter's mother, as an actor friend enthusiastically points out, is a comic monster: `If you put her in a book - as they say - no one would believe her... Only Wagner could do her justice.' She's matched by the larger-than-life eccentric, F. Leonard Cottle, randy retired doctor and author of `With Stethoscope and Scalpel', who employs Peter's mother as housekeeper after her husband dies. Cottle introduces the boy Peter to the facts of life. There are some bravura-satirical set pieces on playwrights, players and critics: the staging and reception of a `revolutionary' production of Hamlet based on the premise that he was suffering from congenital syphilis, a pointed parody of Eliot's The Cocktail Party.