Oxford fellow and John Milton expert Professor Henry Fell suffers from panic attacks and a gnawing fear that what he doubtfully refers to as his existence is much more out of his control than he realizes…
In Ryan Asmussen‘s debut novel “The Englishman and the Butterfly” Professor Fell has just arrived in Boston on an academic fellowship, when he meets a variety of people who, in one way or another, expose him to true love, true death, and true poetry.
The cast includes the lovely and sharp-tongued Julia Collins, a Ph.D. candidate struggling to survive in a male-dominated world; fellow Brit Professor Geoffrey Hearne, one of the University’s most popular and colorful lecturers; .and the rather less-than-popular, equally British, Professor Christopher Moberley, whose vast bulk contains the darkest of secrets.
A “coming of middle-age” story, a metaphysical parable, a glimpse into literature from the inside-out, “The Englishman and the Butterfly” is a tragicomic look at the differences between imagining a life, performing one, and becoming enlightened to the possibility that there is more to life than meets a reader’s eye.
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This, from Shannon McCloskey Allain’s review of “The Englishman and the Butterfly”:
Why aren’t more thrillers set within the gray-stoned, ivied walls and stately, dusty-shelved libraries of academia? With their insular, analytical worlds, temporarily suspended from reality in the name of developing intellectual over practical experience, combined with egos, professional hierarchies and conflicting ideas, such a setting is perfect for a psychological thriller. Not since Donna Tartt’s A Secret History has it been used to such great effect. A briskly entertaining modern story with clever classical overtones and elements borrowed from Shakespearean tragedy, Ryan Asmussen’s first novel asks the age old question plaguing man since the beginning of time: How much control do we have over our own destinies?
And of course, don’t miss Ryan’s trailer for “The Englishman and the Butterfly”: