Catherine Steadman explores perils of lacking identity in new novel

“One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.” ― K.L. Toth

Who we are matters. Simple details like where we’re from or how we like our eggs don’t seem like a big deal, until you find that you can’t remember them ... or worse that you can’t remember your own name. Our latest read takes us to a small community in Norfolk, England, where a man wakes up on the beach one day without any idea of who he is.

Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman

Looking for something to read in the new year? Start it off right with a spellbinding thriller. Catherine Steadman’s second novel, “Mr. Nobody” is a brilliantly structured read as the novel bounces back and forth between the perspectives of Dr. Emma Lewis, a neuropsychiatrist, and her puzzling fugue patient referred to as Matthew.

Matthew doesn’t know who he is. He doesn’t know where he is. The only clue he has about anything is a word scribbled on his hand that he promptly washes away before being discovered on the beach.

Emma is called to Norfolk to study Matthew’s case and diagnose whether or not he truly doesn’t know who he is. The problem is Emma hasn’t returned to Norfolk since she and her family were forced to leave when she was a teenager and they were placed in a witness protection program. By returning to where she grew up Emma risks having those she grew up with recognize her, but at the same time Matthew’s case is so rare and fascinating she can’t pass up the chance to study him. It’s only when Matthew begins to speak to her about Emma’s past and her old name that she begins to worry that his particular case has something to do with her past.

Steadman’s plot twists and turns, taking readers on a deceptive roller coaster as each page reveals a new layer of intrigue. For readers looking for more literary thrills in 2020, “Mr. Nobody” is an absolute must for your To Be Read (TBR) list.

From the book jacket…

When a man is found on a British beach, drifting in and out of consciousness, with no identification and unable to speak, interest in him is sparked immediately. From the hospital staff who find themselves inexplicably drawn to him, to international medical experts who are baffled by him, to the national press who call him Mr. Nobody, everyone wants answers. Who is this man? And what happened to him?

Neuropsychiatrist Dr. Emma Lewis is asked to assess the patient in a small town deep in the English countryside. This is her field of expertise, this is the chance she’s been waiting for, and this case could make her name known across the world. But therein lies the danger. Emma left this same town fourteen years ago and has taken great pains to cover all traces of her past since then.

But now something—or someone—is calling her back. And the more time she spends with her patient, the more alarmed she becomes that he knows the one thing about her that nobody is supposed to know.

If you enjoy…

For those looking to pack more literary thrills into their TBR, readers might also enjoy “The Whisper Man” by Alex North. When a father and son move in search of a fresh start, they find themselves in the middle of a police investigation and a serial killer.

“Mr. Nobody” by Catherine Steadman will be published on Jan. 7.