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  • Published: 24 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241524749
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 224

Exactly What You Mean

The BBC Between the Covers Book Club Pick




An innovative, tender and unsettling debut novel about unintended consequences that reach around the globe, from Guernsey to London and Europe to the States, exploring what it means to lose our innocence

Surrounded by the dramatic beauty of Guernsey, a teenager discovers a secret and finds his betrayal has the power to ruin adult lives. In London, a marriage shot through with infidelity leads to a quest for revenge, resulting in a series of simultaneously comical and catastrophic events. And in California, as wildfires threaten landscapes and lives, a young veteran struggles with the trauma of war, seeking solace at a local ranch.

In this extraordinary debut, a cast of characters grapple with unexpected betrayal, the loss of innocence and the lies we tell. With sharp insight, Ben Hinshaw illuminates the unnerving nature of what it means to grow up, to be a teenager playing at adulthood and an adult playing games.

  • Published: 24 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241524749
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 224

About the author

Ben Hinshaw

Ben Hinshaw is a British-American writer whose short fiction has received an O. Henry Prize and appeared in Harvard Review, The White Review and elsewhere. He grew up on the island of Guernsey and has also lived in London, Nottingham and Northern California. A former bookseller, he currently lives on Guernsey with his family.

Praise for Exactly What You Mean

Ben Hinshaw renders ordinary human agonies with extraordinary precision and emotional insight . . . This book is a riveting and beautifully patterned map of the emotional archipelago of longing and learning, loving and leaving

Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Ben Hinshaw offers wit, sensitivity and sharp observation . . . the intricate, braided storylines, sustained with energy and relish. It is entertaining, and something more - truly involving

Hilary Mantel, author of The Mirror and the Light

Virtuosity of technique accompanies keenness of insight and depth of characterisation . . . Hinshaw's impressively accomplished debut puts him in [Tim Winton and Jennifer Egan's] company

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

Such an incredibly clever idea this, a set of interlinked stories in which people who appear in one turn up in another . . there's a regretful, wistful atmosphere that's compelling.

Daily Mail

A surprising and enjoyable read . . . this novel without guardrails stands as a brave debut

The Times

A poignant demonstration of the way the past is still folded into the present

FT

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