Shtum: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This book hit me in the gut in the best way. I laughed, I cried, and I fumed. I tend to avoid books centered on family drama, but this story is anything but petty. Each character comes from an honest and conflicted place, and Lester's honest writing is refreshing and full of love.

— Katie


The international literary triumph with rights sold in seven countries, Shtum is a powerhouse debut that untangles the complicated strands of personal identity, family history, and lapsed communication. Drawn from Jem Lester’s experience of raising an autistic child, Shtum is “a darker, sadder version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but just as moving” (Observer). In this darkly funny and emotive novel, Ben Jewell has hit a breaking point. His profoundly autistic ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken, and the family is struggling to cope. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Georg, Ben’s aging and cantankerous father, three generations of men—one who can’t talk, two who won’t—are thrown together. As Ben confronts single fatherhood, he must learn some harsh lessons about accountability, all before the arrival of a tribunal that will determine the future of Jonah’s education. Funny and heartbreaking in equal measure, Lester’s debut is a powerful and unapologetic story of love, sacrifice, and determination that examines the vagaries of human emotion and provokes discussion about an often misunderstood disorder. With streaks of brilliant humor and levity, Shtum is ultimately uplifting and compulsively readable, easy to recommend, and memorable long after the final pages.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781468316193
ISBN-10: 1468316192
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Pages: 320
Language: English