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Jon McGregor talks to Toby Lichtig

Lean Fall Stand

Hay Festival 2021, 

When an Antarctic research expedition goes wrong, the consequences are far-reaching for the men involved and for their families back home. Robert 'Doc' Wright, a veteran of Antarctic field work, holds the clues to what happened, but he is no longer able to communicate with them. While his wife Anna navigates her new life as a carer, Robert is forced to learn a whole new way to be in the world. The novel unpicks the notion of heroism and explores the indomitable human impulse to tell our stories, even when words fail us. A meditation on the line between sacrifice and selfishness, this is a story of the undervalued, unrecognised courage it can take just to get through the day.

Toby Lichtig is fiction editor at The TLS.

Jon McGregor talks to Toby Lichtig