Publication of Roger Hyams’ wise, wonderfully-written debut

Wrecking Ball Press will publish the debut novel from Roger Hyams – The Lightman System on Monday 27 June.

It is 1974. Teenage siblings Ellie and Colin are on holiday when they fall for the same girl. From this strange meeting onward, Ellie’s musical talent takes her to new heights, Colin finds his own fascination in photography, and both seem set for fulfilment – until catastrophe overtakes Ellie and changes the shape of the whole family.

Years later, brother and sister must battle to understand what has befallen them.

The Lightman System will speak directly to those who have had similar experiences to Ellie and Colin, either as the sufferer of mental storms or those close to them.

But author Roger Hyams adds: “I think the last couple of years has laid bare the fact that this is not an exclusive group. So there’s something here for everyone who has had difficulties with their mental health, everyone who’s known someone who has, and anyone who’s interested in the way minds try to deal with the unmanageable.”

Praise for The Lightman System

“A superb novel – beautifully, beautifully written and with such heart-breaking truth and insight. Time is both cruel and kind, chance is more cruel than kind, and trying to defeat both is hard. This novel is a supreme example of how fiction can tell this story.” – Stephen Fry

“What might it be like to lose your equilibrium and what might it be like to be close to someone who does? The Lightman System has two very different protagonists. Roger Hyams’s magic trick is that we understand them both, what shapes them and what stands between them, even while they can’t. The story uncovers the subtle workings of a family dynamic (the things withheld, the things inferred, the psychological and emotional coding) and even when events take a terrifying turn, the distinctive blend of restraint, vividness, humour and compassion make this a compellingly enjoyable read. I was moved to tears by the ending. The Lightman System is a deeply involving, wise, wonderfully-written book and Ellie and Col are unforgettable co-heroes.” – Amelia Bullmore, playwright, screenwriter and actor.

Author details:

Roger Hyams was an actor for twelve years, appearing with the RSC, the English Touring Theatre and the Oxford Stage Company, Birmingham Repertory and the Traverse. He started working at the BBC as a script-reader, then a script editor, and after a couple of years as Head of Drama Development at Talkback Productions, began to work freelance. Along with his script consultancy he is a screenwriter, a filmmaker and a Visiting Lecturer at the London Film School and Central Saint Martins. He has written the book and lyrics for two musicals, co-directed two baroque operas and coached opera singers on performance. The Lightman System is his first novel, and he’s writing another.

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