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Pharmakon

by Dirk Wittenborn

Zach Friedrich’s family has been rocked to its very core by an incident that happened before he was even born and worse still, his dad is to blame. One of the best openings I have read in a long time, the first half, seen through the eyes of Zach’s father, a psychologist who believes he has created a pill for happiness, is engaging and absorbing. The second – Zach’s story – is a more conventional family saga. The whole is a compelling read.

Extract

'Smart boy.' His hand was on my shoulder, but I was in the palm of his hand. My father always called me his friend; now I was his accomplice .... My mother was puzzled and relieved. The last battle was over. 'You know you can change your mind about this if you want to, Zach.' 'I don't want to.' I had disappointed her; I was her last excuse from complete immersion. I had also disappointed myself, and yet I was happy. To please my father was a rare and wondrous thing, like an eclipse.

Parallels

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks
The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn
 

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