Hang Him When He Is Not There

Nicholas John Turner, Hang Him When He Is Not There (300w)A novel by Nicholas John Turner

New Year’s Eve, 1989. At a residential care home in suburban Australia, fireworks explode in the distance while an elderly man dies in troubling circumstances. Decades later, a proof-reader, disfigured by a childhood accident, prepares to meet a celebrated and reclusive novelist. Between these two figures a subtle and intricate web is woven, implicating the members of a mystical cult, the victim of a beheading, an impostor artist, and the enigmatic presence known only as Agent Vell…

Hang Him When He Is Not There is a novel unlike any other. With keen intelligence, stylistic flair, and a bold philosophy of literary possibilities, Nicholas John Turner has crafted a globe-spanning, time-bending narrative that throws its own readers into the action and scours the darkest reaches of the human psyche: jealousy, betrayal, duplicity, cowardice, and — above all — vanity.


Nicholas John Turner is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. Hang Him When He Is Not There is his first novel.


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Praise for Hang Him When He Is Not There

One of the boldest Australian literary débuts of recent years. … Intricately patterned, intertextual, reflexive, multivocal, bleakly mordant… a narrative splayed and atomised, yet strung together by tangling motifs and voices; a fiction that forks in multiple directions before coiling back together in a snake-like constriction; [a novel that] doubles and fractures the shards of narrative until the whole comes to resemble a mirror that has been smashed and then imperfectly restored.

— Shannon Burns
The Australian


Darkly humorous, impish, elusive, and intimate. … A fresh, electrifying, perplexing, flamboyant cornucopia of self-reflexive text.

— Eugene Bacon
Antic Magazine


Smart and playful. … A curious book that will get you thinking and feeling.

— Daniel Young
editor of Tincture


Intricate and subtly interwoven, Hang Him When He Is Not There is not a safe first work of fiction. It takes risks and challenges conventions masterfully.

— Bonnie Stevens
Mous Magazine


Intellectually playful. … Keeps readers enthralled with [its] deep complexity and originality.

— Kim Hellberg
The West End Magazine


Highly original and complex. … Elusively intriguing. … There is a fascinating mind to be discovered within these pages.

— Elaine Fry
The West Australian


A dazzling, daring novel. I was completely taken aback. The intensity of the reading experience it affords is simply astonishing.

— Martin Shaw


Exceptional and challenging. … One of those books that turns our preconceptions of literature inside-out and expands the limits of what the artform can do. … When I read it, it gave me that feeling of a first encounter with a truly singular intelligence. Unique. Uncompromising. Absolutely self-possessed, fully confident in the integrity of its one-of-a-kind literary vision. It is the real deal — a novel that offers all the rewards of the very best literature while also breaking all the old rules.

— Daniel Davis Wood