Genre: Fiction
Published: 7 April 2016
Publisher: Orion


by Jem Lester

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son, Jonah, has never spoken. So when Ben and Jonah are forced to move in with Ben’s elderly father, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together. As Ben battles single fatherhood, a string of well-meaning social workers and his own demons, he learns some difficult home truths. Jonah, blissful in his innocence, becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled. Perfect for fans of David Nicholls, THE SHOCK OF THE FALL and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.

“Jem Lester writes so beautifully, it feels as if you’re eavesdropping on a conversation. SHTUM is a book with true heart and soul, and I loved every word.” - Joanna Cannon
“Powerful, unapologetic and deeply moving, Jem Lester mines a hard-hitting story to discover dark humour and surprising warmth. It’s a book that breaks your heart but ultimately uplifts. A simply stunning novel.” - Miranda Dickinson
“This is an impressive novel that gives a very accurate portrayal of the struggles some families of autistic children endure, while taking the reader on an exhilarating roller coaster ride between pathos, comedy and anger.” - Saskia Baron, Guardian
“Jem Lester infuses humour and intelligence throughout the story whilst having a keen understanding of the nature of complex human relationships over time. I have no doubt that SHTUM will be a highly successful debut novel for him.” - Paromjit, Goodreads