A thought-provoking mystery in turns comic and disturbing, set in a country that resembles England in the 1950s, with one crucial difference. No women.
William Riddle is a scholar at Bune, the ancient public school where the sons of Anglia’s first families are prepared for a leading role in society. His first few weeks are a miserable round of bullying and abuse, until he makes a friend: Paul Purkis, son of a government minister. Together they create a grotesque private world, known as Malcaster, populated by criminals and deviants, as an outlet for their contempt for the school and its staff.
Overnight William’s world collapses. He is called into the headmaster’s office and told that his scientist father has committed an unspecified act of treason. William is hauled off to a detention centre to be interrogated. Escaping, he finds refuge in the louche sub-culture of the capital city, and comes to learn that everything he has ever been taught is a complete fabrication.
What is your favourite thing about writing books?
Getting an insight as I write a scene – as often as not this is something I had never realised before.
Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
Paul Purkis, because he befriends someone who is unpopular, and remains loyal to him.
What is your favourite drink to consume while writing?
It has to be coffee, I’m afraid – it kick-starts the writing process and keeps me writing. I drink it strong and black, served in small measures from a stainless steel cafetière, which keeps it warm for hours.
Do you have any bad habits while you’re writing?
Drinking coffee, as I said before. It raises my blood pressure, makes me jittery, and stops me sleeping, but I drink it all the same.
How do you research your books?
Mostly these days on the internet, but I also keep a good atlas and other reference books beside my desk, including a dictionary of quotations, a dictionary of proverbs, and an encyclopaedia of anatomy.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I mull over a situation, decide on a narrator, then when I am in front of the keyboard I put the two together, and let the narrator do the work.
If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose and why?
Narnia, as it was in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; because I could enjoy a wonderful tea with Mr Tumnus, and be there for the return of Aslan and the end of winter.
If you could befriend any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Ralph Touchett in Portrait of a Lady, because he is clever and entertaining and truthful, and an infallible judge of character.
About the Author
Splitting his time between the South of France and Cambridge, Issac Kuhnberg enjoys spending his time writing and painting. At The University of Hull he gained his PhD in English focussing on the novels and authors of the 1930’s, including Christopher Isherwood and Evelyn Waugh, which would later inspired his own writing. His debut novel The Well Deceived by Issac Kuhnberg (published by Clink Street Publishing 15th May 2018) is available to purchase from online retailers including Amazon and to order from all good bookstores.