‘Someone broke a window the day we buried my father.’
Only a split second in time, but for scientist Daniel Hayden, this shattering of glass is the trigger for all his demons to be unleashed. His emotional and scientific lives quickly blur as he tries to reconcile a terrible secret in his family’s past with the resurrected theories of an eighteenth century Frenchman, forcing him to confront the very nature of what makes us who we are…
Richard’s 20 years working in hospital medicine and research, informs his gripping first novel Antisense in which neuroscientist Daniel Hayden struggles to reconcile his scientific theories with his troubled emotions after the death of his father reveals a dark secret.
At its core, the book is about what makes us the people we are. Everyone, at some point in their lives, starts to recognise patterns of behaviours they can attribute to their parents. It’s the classic ‘You’re just like your mother/father’ cliché couples inevitably end up throwing at each other from time to time. Those traits can be good and bad, of course. But what if there was something terrible in your family’s past? How constrained are we by the behaviours we learn or inherit? Can we ever escape them or are we ‘doomed’ to relive them?
These are the questions Daniel, the narrator of Antisense, is tormented by. A torment only compounded by the results of his scientific research, which are utterly confusing at first, but then start to converge with his personal life with devastating consequences. There’s more detail on the ‘The Science Bit’ page, but suggest you read that after reading Antisense to avoid any possible spoilers! But in a nutshell, the science behind the book is real…
“We had lived in the same house for as long as I could remember. My mother had a job in a bank before I came along, but soon gave it up for that rural and, frankly, servile existence. And there should have been more children. I knew of the miscarriages before my birth and the emergency hysterectomy that hastily followed my arrival. It was another childhood burden I carried: that maybe I was only part of the family my parents wanted, that I, alone, was not enough to defrost my mother nor reanimate my father. But there were other reasons, unknown and unspoken, I could only vaguely sense, like old scars the cause of which you can’t remember.”
“In science the greatest of pitfalls is when, no longer the pursuit of truth, it becomes the pursuit of happiness. When we seek only the answers we wish to find. When, for a moment, we believe we can exert some control over our small corner of the universe, an undoubted pleasure in such solutions when so little else in life can offer the same.”