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  • Published: 2 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446496909
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

The Adult

Winner of the Somerset Maugham Prize and shortlisted for the Portico Prize - The Adult is a novel of life in the shadow of the limelight, and other twenty-first-century tribulations.


'Funny, sad, bewildering and painfully honest, it's a must-read for all fans of Joe Dunthorne's Submarine' Emerald Street

Jim Thorne.
He wants to understand love.
His mum.
Her three sisters have epic perms.
And they're famous.
His dad.
He is focused on a vital question:
Mario or Sonic?
It's England, 1989-2009.
So expect a little history.
The dolphin's name is Dilly.

  • Published: 2 August 2012
  • ISBN: 9781446496909
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the author

Joe Stretch

Joe Stretch was born in 1982 and brought up in Lancashire. He moved to Manchester at the age of 18 to study politics at Manchester University. His band, Performance, in which he is lead singer and lyricist, released their debut album in 2007.

Also by Joe Stretch

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Praise for The Adult

The Adult is a tremendous novel. It takes its place with some of the very best of its genre - the right of passage. Very few people can do it well. Stretch has done it superbly well. I'm not surprised it won the Somerset Maugham Award. I'm sure it will go on to be widely read and cited. I do hope so

Melvyn Bragg

A consistently amusing hymn to unfulfilled potential which grows more involving and poignant as it goes on

Alastair Mabbott, Herald

A funny, wryly observed coming-of-age novel, it will strike a chord with anyone who grew up during the Noughties. It's full of quirky period details and Jim is an engaging narrator

Mail on Sunday

A properly bollock-droppingly brilliant novel

Dazed & Confused

A ribald, well-observed, coming-of-age comedy. Beautifully wrought mockery of everything from smoothie bars to Gary Barlow's early solo career


Bursting with wit. addictive


Funny and rich and dirty and taut and original. I wanted it to be my biography, but there was way more warmth and invention in it than you could fit in a lifetime

David Whitehouse

Funny and true


Funny, sad, bewildering and painfully honest, it's a must-read for all fans of Joe Dunthorne's Submarine

Emerald Street

I knew from the first page that this was going to be a very funny book, but I didn't realise it would have so much heart and be so beautiful

Evie Wyld

Jim is such a likeable character, unflinchingly recounting in all his worst failures and humiliations

Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

Raucously funny and achingly sad. Written with thrilling verve and wince-making acuity, The Adult marks Joe Stretch out as a unique and vital voice

Gwendoline Riley

Savage, hilarious, uncannily moving, and true. It's the first novel I've read that burns with all the madness, sadness and refracted terror of right now, and everyone should read it. Right now

Jacob Polley

So enjoyable... The Adult is closer to a state-of-the-nation novel than any typical bildungsroman


The book is magnificent, understated, full of gentle mind grenades

Cliff Jones

This is a book which does more than just take you on a journey through the last twenty years. It also has a lot to say about family eccentricities, about childhood and adulthood and the difficulties faced in trying to be either, given the times we live alongside

Matt Haig

Very funny, beautifully wrought

Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph

Warm, funny and nostalgic enough to have you digging out your Global Hypercolor T-shirt and fluoro toweling socks

Short List

What a beautifully written first novel. Joe Stretch has a way with words that is intensely captivating. Superb on adolescence, the Nineties, and more

William Leith, Evening Standard

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