(6) Pheby.jpg
(6) Pheby.jpg



Published 5 November 2015 

Read the first chapter here 

‘Arguably the best neuronovel ever written.’ (Literary Review) 

‘Marvellously surprising and vivid, something new…’ (The New York Times) 

  • Shortlisted for the 2016 Wellcome Book Prize
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PAUL SCHREBER is a man who wants to go home – but can’t. He is a man crippled by an illness he doesn’t understand – and sometimes doesn’t even know he has. He’s in no condition to face the worst – but the worst keeps on happening to him. His family is disintegrating, past traumas are coming back to haunt him – and so are those troubling, seemingly laid-to-rest fears of persecution...

Paul Schreber is paranoid – and they really are out to get him.

Playthings, Alex Pheby’s astonishing second novel, delves deep into a disturbed mind – and in doing so, also explores the roots of the great ills in the twentieth century, the psychological structure of fascism, the cancer of anti-Semitism, and the abuse of institutional power. Based on the true story of a man who became a case study for Freud and a foundation stone in the psychological make-up of the twentieth century, Playthings is an intense and poetic exploration about what it means to be human.

ALEX PHEBY was born in Essex and moved to Worcester in his early childhood. He has masters degrees in critical theory and creative writing, and a doctorate in critical and creative writing from the UEA. He lives with his wife and two children in London, where he teaches at the University of Greenwich. He is currently working on his third novel, based on James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia Joyce.