The Autodidacts

By Thomas Kendall




A man mysteriously disappears in a lighthouse, as if dissolved by light, leaving behind a notebook filled with bizarre claims of a curse and a series of drawings entitled ‘The Death of the Jubilant Child.’ The investigation into the disappearance unearths hidden connections between the disappeared man, Helene and the strange figure of the Man With The Forks In His Fingers. Fifteen years later, the discovery of the detective’s copy of the notebook by Helene’s daughter seems to set in motion a repetition of the events of the past.

Circuitously structured and intensely lyrical, The Autodidacts explores the mythos of friendship, the necessity of failure, the duty of imagination, and the dreams of working class lives demanding to be beautiful. It is a prayer in denial of its heresy, a metafictional-roman-a-clef trying to maintain its concealment, and an attempt to love that shows its workings out in the margins of its construction.



Publication date: 23 March 2022


Thomas Kendall’s THE AUTODIDACTS is a brilliant novel — inviting like a secret passage, infallible in its somehow orderly but whirligig construction, spine-tingling to unpack, and as haunted as any fiction in recent memory.

– Dennis Cooper

Like skateboard tricks the most nimble minds struggle to unwind, Kendall's sentences are intricate mechanisms that merge action and abstraction into something so compelling to observe.

– Meg Gluth, author of NO OTHER and COME DOWN TO US