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.
A darker, sadder version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, but just as moving THE OBSERVER 'SHTUM is a thought-provoking novel about the silent ties between generations, with a wonderful child character at its heart. I loved Jonah and ached for the impossible decisions his family had to face' -- Julie Cohen One to watch THE SUN A tale of family, loss, self-discovery and forgiveness. Prepare to be moved by its beauty HEAT MAGAZINE Warm, funny and sad DAILY EXPRESS Funny yet heart-breaking, the book is likely to be enjoyed by fans of The Rosie Project and The Shock of the Fall INDEPENDENT One to watch GRAZIA With shades of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time this former journalist's debut is informed by his own experiences with his non-verbal autistic son BIG ISSUE
Jem Lester was a journalist for nine years and saw the Berlin Wall fall in 1989 - and though there, he denies personal responsibility. He was also the last journalist to interview the legendary Fred Zinnemann, before the director died. He denies responsibility for that too. He taught English and Media studies at secondary schools for nine years. Jem has two children, one of whom is profoundly autistic, and for them he accepts total responsibility. He lives in London with his partner and her two children. Jem's first novel, SHTUM, won the 2013 PFD/City University Prize for Fiction. Follow Jem on Twitter @JemLester