I ended up reading the whole of Shtum in a single day. It completely sucked me in in a way I was not expecting.
Ben’s son Jonah is severely autistic, and as their council refuses to pay for residential schooling, Ben and his wife agree to a fake separation in a hope that single parenthood will help tip the scales. Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s elderly father Georg, and through battles against the council, the three generations of men open up to each other.
Ben is a brilliantly sardonic, awful man, who says terrible things but then sweet things and you just can’t decide how much you root for him or just for Jonah to get the life he deserves. Combine personal demons, dark humour, the draconian benefits system and the history of Hungarian Jews, and you have Shtum.
Interested? Get it here.
Want to know what else I’ve read about autism or features autistic characters? Check out The Essential Autie Book List.
What to read next?
- Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst (currently only in Hardback)
- A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
- The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig (pre order only right now, but so so worth it)
Thank you to Orion for sharing a copy with me for review.