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Based on a true episode, this sharply comic novel, and Waugh's own biography are entangled in a richly fascinating way. The Ordeal of Gilbert PinfoldA ConversationPiece recounts a period of mental confusion and breakdown in the life of Gilbert Pinfold, an established novelist of mature years. Prone to moments of paranoia and memory-loss, he attempts to cure himself by going on a cruise to the tropics. But an active imagination means peace of mind becomes an increasingly illusory destination.