Joe Dunthorne

Joe Dunthorne’s most recent book is O Positive. His novels include Submarine and Wild Abandon.

Diary: Real Me and Fake Me

Joe Dunthorne, 10 February 2022

Dostoevsky’sThe Double tells the story of Yakov Golyadkin, whose life is destroyed by the arrival of someone who looks identical to him but is far more charming and likeable. Gradually Yakov finds that his double has stolen his friends and replaced him at work, and that he is generally doing a much better job of being Yakov than Yakov ever could. When Yakov attempts to reclaim his...

Diary: A Branching Story

Joe Dunthorne, 1 July 2021

OnChristmas Day in 1992, my parents gave me a computer game. The game was called Turrican II: The Final Fight and I knew from reading recent copies of Zzap!64 magazine that it was regarded as the crowning achievement of Manfred Trenz, the greatest programmer of his generation. Saying Trenz’s name out loud in the playground could cause sun-deprived children to stop still and give...

There​ are few suicide notes more ecstatic than those of Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel, who died together on 21 November 1811. ‘May heaven grant you a death even half as joyous and inexpressibly cheerful as mine,’ Kleist wrote to his sister. He was ‘blissfully happy’, he told his cousin, and looking forward to this ‘most splendid and pleasurable of...

His Secret Opening: Revism

Joe Dunthorne, 2 April 2020

In​ 1963, the novelist Gerard Reve became the first openly gay public figure in the Netherlands. By the end of the decade, it was known that he lived with two friends in an open relationship and had a fetish that he called ‘Revism’ (it involved seducing a younger man in order to offer him to an older one for love and torture). During the same period, when many of his generation...

Two Poems

Joe Dunthorne, 19 February 2015

The Old Days

Remember when everyone on earth was pregnant except for you which was a miracle

and the babies jangled down on their cords like oxygen masks during unplanned cabin decompression

and all language was lost to the cutesy voice. Woo are so wucky, everyone explained while you adopted

the brace position, amazed at the serenity that comes from looking after yourself.


The Adulterants​ is a very funny comedy of arrested development: a coming-of-age novel in which the main character is 33. Ray Morris is a shallow, infantile narcissist reluctantly facing the...

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