Author(s): Dirk Wittenborn
'I was born because a man came to kill my father.' It is 1950s America and madness is in the air. In a world where the 'cures' for craziness include coma therapy, cyanide treatment, sulphur injections and full-frontal lobotomies, Dr. William T. Friedrich's ambitions are more modest. He just wants to find a way to prescribe happiness. Friedrich, a young, ambitious professor of psychology at Yale has stumbled upon a drug that promises to make him famous. Derived from an exotic plant, 'The Way Home' seems to possess the secret ingredient of happiness.But Friedrich and his colleague Bunny Winton must find subjects willing to test their hypothesis, and in Casper Gedsic, a fiercely intelligent, socially inept, near-suicidal maths student they seem to have found their perfect guinea pig. But when their experiment goes awry and Casper's thirst for revenge turns murderous, his actions will have consequences that haunt Friedrich and his family forever. Friedrich's youngest son, Zach, who owes his existence to the fallout of those turbulent months, grows up in the shadow of Casper Gedsic. For him and his family, the bogeyman is real.
Pharmakon is inspired by real events from the author's life and the chilling opening line is true. From the uncompromising opening to the haunting conclusion, Dirk Wittenborn troubles, fascinates and holds you in thrall For fans of Lionel Shriver, Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides and with shades of adult Roald Dahl Fierce People will be repackaged with a companion B-format look
'An ambitious and memorable novel' Jay McInerney 'A fascinating portrait of a family living on the edge in the barely post-medieval age of 1950s psychopharmacology. Both victims and perpetrators, poineers and innocents, the saga of the Friedrichs will stay with you long after the book has been read' Richard Price 'An old-fashioned novel about a modern subject ... surprising - sometimes shocking ... don't be surprised if you find yourself moved to tears' Bret Easton Ellis 'What's best about Pharmakon ... is Mr Wittenborn's colorful, affectionate evocation of a complex family story ... A smart, eccentric coming-of-age story about an entire culture's maturation process' New York Times
Dirk Wittenborn is a screenwriter who lives in New York City.