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Shtum: A Novel - Jem Lester

Shtum: A Novel

Jem Lester
The Overlook Press , English
3,568 ratings

A man shares a house with his autistic son and cranky elderly father in this “moving, darkly funny novel” (The Washington Post).   Ben Jewell has hit a breaking point. His profoundly autistic ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken, and Ben and his wife Emma are struggling to cope. When Ben and Emma fake a separation—a strategic yet ill-advised decision to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal to determine the future of his education—father and son are forced to move in with Georg, Ben’s elderly and cantankerous father.   In a small house in north London, three generations of men—one who can’t talk; two who won’t—are thrown together. As Ben confronts single fatherhood, he must battle a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons to advocate for his son, learning some harsh lessons about accountability from his father along the way. As the tribunal draws near, Jonah, blissful in his innocence, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history, and misunderstanding are untangled, in this “funny yet heartbreaking” prize-winning debut (The Independent).   “Whether you think Shtum is a novel about autism or about marriage (it’s both, by the way), you will agree that it is, in the end, a love story infused with wit, charm, and a deep appreciation for the complex beauty of damaged souls.” —Jonathan Tropper, New York Times-bestselling author of This is Where I Leave You   “This is the literary territory of Tony Parsons and Nick Hornby, infused with the Jewish humor of Howard Jacobson and Shalom Auslander . . . an exhilarating roller coaster ride between pathos, comedy and anger.” —The Guardian   “A remarkable book, at once hilarious, horrifying, and heartbreaking, written with the glum humor only Brits can carry off.” —The Toronto Star

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