A shy, bookish scholarship student from a working class family, Owen Whiting has high hopes of Oxford, only to find himself adrift and out of place among the university’s aristocrats and posh radicals. But his life takes a dramatic turn when he meets Zachary Foedern, a visiting scholar from New York. Rich, brilliant and charismatic, Zach takes Owen under his wing, introducing him to a world of experiences Owen has only ever read about.
From Oxford to the seedy underbelly of Berlin, they practise what Zach preaches, daring each other to transgress the boundaries of convention and morality, until Zach proposes the greatest transgression of all: a suicide pact. But when Zach’s plans go horribly awry, Owen is left to pick up the pieces in New York. Now he must navigate the treacherous boundaries between illusion and reality to preserve a hold on his once bright future. No one – least of all Owen – will foresee where that leads him …
About the author
Born in Los Angeles, Ryan Ruby was educated at Columbia University, Oxford University and the University of Chicago. He has been a bookseller in Los Angeles, a tour guide in Berlin, a layabout in New Orleans and a lecturer in philosophy at the City University of New York.
His fiction, literary criticism and political commentary have appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Paris Review Daily, n + 1, The Baffler, Conjunctions, Dissent and Lapham’s Quarterly. Ryan Ruby lives in Berlin.