Submarine

Unsparing and hilarious in the narrator's antic sophistry and cool self-deception, this first novel from Swansea-born Joe Dunthorne, 26, was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. Through a narrator of near-sociopathic honesty, Dunthorne vividly explores the complex interaction of good intentions, unexpressed fears and pleas for attention, both adolescent and broadly human. "My body has been replaced by a shell. My internal organs are made of stone. I have been dead for years". Wryly testing his parents with such verbal taunts, precocious teenager and Machiavellian protagonist Oliver Tate navigates a year of self-instructed missions and carefully planned, ultimately chaotic, new experiences.

From ‘creative’ bullying, through his first relationship – “I am Hitler, she is Goebbels” - and beyond, he strives against sentimentality and the grim onset of maturity. Playfully earnest, intrigued by psychological illness, with a clinical pleasure in language and a childlike concern for his parents' sex life (and his own), this sharper, bolder counterpart to Adrian Mole's pained passivity confronts the significant events of his young life with an objectivity both warped and bitingly entertaining.

Refuting the threats of depression, sentimentality and marital breakdown, the narrator will write a guide to harnessing one's inner bully, go undercover as a Victorian runaway at a meditation retreat, be seduced at a Nazi ghetto musical, and stoop to dog poisoning, housebreaking and vandalism, all in his battle with emotional development. Described as “brilliant” (The Times) and “the sharpest, funniest, rudest account of a periodically troubled teenager's coming-of-age since The Catcher in the Rye” (The Independent), this is a striking apology for late-capitalism's information-saturated youth.

Reviews

  • '...the sharpest, funniest, rudest account of a periodically troubled teenager's coming-of-age since The Catcher in the Rye.'

    The Independent

  • ‘(An) absolutely winning debut novel’

    Los Angeles Times

Joe Dunthorne

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Publication details:

Submarine
Hamish Hamilton (2008)

Submarine
Hamish Hamilton (2008)
pp 304

Translation rights:

Georgia Garrett
AP Watt Ltd
20 John Street
London WC1N 2DR

T +44 (0)20 7405 6774
F +44 (0)20 7831 2154

ggarrett@apwatt.co.uk
www.apwatt.co.uk

Rights sold:

Brazilian - Record
Chinese (simplified) - Shanghai 99 Cultural Consulting Co Ltd
Dutch - Contact
German - Rowohlt
Greek - Indiktos
Hebrew - Kinneret-Zmora
Italian - Piemme
Romanian - RAO
Russian - Ripolv
Slovenian - Goga