There’s something magical about an audiobook read by the person who wrote it, especially when it comes to fiction.
Jersey based author Douglas Kruger has written thirteen books for Penguin – most about business and entrepreneurship. This January, he will launch an entirely new project: his debut novel.
With prior experience on radio and stage, Douglas was asked by his publisher to record the audio version of the book for platforms like Audible.
The story is a strange and touching one, titled, ‘The man who never was’. It poses a unique and haunting challenge: ‘Throughout history, many people have laid down their lives for their children. If it truly mattered, could you make the decision never to have lived in the first place?’
The book launches globally on audio-book platform Audible.com on January 1st, and then on Amazon as a paperback and ebook on January 3rd.
Meanwhile, Douglas has shared the first 45 minutes of the audio book on his popular YouTube channel:
Douglas lives in St Helier with his wife and four-year-old son. This debut novel is dedicated to his Mum and Dad, with the inscription:
To my parents,
who first lifted the veil and pointed me toward the world of storytelling.
Now look what you’ve done.
Synopsis of the Novel:
Throughout history, many people have laid down their lives for their children. ‘The Man Who Never Was’ poses a unique challenge: If it truly mattered, could you make the decision never to have lived?
David shares a close bond with his eight-year-old son, Chris, but their family is destroyed when David loses his life to a violent crime. Yet David goes on.
In the afterlife, he is given an opportunity. He is told that he may be granted three ‘viewings,’ by which to look in on his son.
The terms are strict: He cannot help his boy. He cannot reach him, or teach him, or in any way change the course of the young man’s life. But if he wishes to do so, he may at least look.
David makes the choice, and on three separate occasions in the boy’s life, observes his son’s unfolding story.
On the first occasion, one year after his own death, David is troubled to learn that Chris now lives with a strange man. All indications are that his wife, Chris’s Mom, has somehow left the picture too, but David doesn’t know why. He watches as his son discovers a discarded item, out in a garden shed, which will begin a downward trajectory for his son. So ends the first viewing.
On the second viewing, which takes place years later within the boy’s life, David sees his son commit a terrible crime. He is so overwrought by what he witnesses, that he becomes mute for the duration of a year.
Eventually, he makes the decision to go through with the final viewing. This time, desperate to know what will ultimately become of his son, David goes right to the end, and views the last days of Chris’s life.
He steels himself for the perversity of seeing his son as an old man. But he receives an unwelcome surprise. Chris is still young. David realizes that his son will never grow old.
What he witnesses in the final days of his son’s life will not leave him. Thus begins the series of petitions. David goes to the authorities with a simple but impassioned request: ‘Let me take his place.’ The petition is denied.
David returns with a new proposal: ‘Let me undo my own life, so that my child is never born.’