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Tench: an extract

Posted 6th May 2017

“The offender is not bad as a person; it is the acts that are transgressive. Here we learn how to control those acts.”

Tench is a fascinating and morally ambiguous tale which asks you to suspend judgement and use your empathy instead.

In her challenging, provocative debut novel, Inge Schilperoord uses her experience as a criminal psychologist to weave together a book which captures loneliness, temptation and what it means to be a complete outcast.

“Everything will be different” and “I’ll get better” is what Jonathan tells himself throughout. He has just returned from prison to his mother’s claustrophobic house, desperate to complete the tasks set by the prison psychologist. He will keep to his strict routine: watch T.V. with Mother, walk the dog, check the aquarium, weigh the fish (a tench) which he is trying to nurse back to health, walk on the sweltering dunes, go to work, don’t think, repeat. But in the stifling heat he can’t shake the mirage of his desires; he and the tench are both struggling to survive.

The young girl next door with the chipped tooth is struggling as well, and Jonathan’s forgotten feels are rising to the surface. As his entanglement with Elke increases it threatens to sink his whole life, taking hers with it, but he is determined to stick to his plan and get better. He will not let it happen again…

It is a carefully constructed, skilfully-navigated piece of work which portrays a deeply unsettling, complex protagonist. With a beauty, often to unfamiliar to this subject matter, it takes you through a compelling literary suspense to a deep insight into one of the most taboo topics in human existence…

The extract below is provided for the curious to begin their journey.

Click here to read >