Tom Lee

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The Alarming Palsy of James Orr

book | 2017
UK & Comm → Granta

James Orr – husband, father, reliable employee and all round model citizen – wakes one morning to find himself quite transformed.

There's no way he can go into the office, and the doctors aren't able to help. Waiting for the affliction to pass, he wanders the idyllic estate where he lives, with its pretty woodland, uniform streets and perfectly manicured lawns. But there are cracks in the veneer. And as his orderly existence begins to unravel, it appears that James himself may not be the man he thought he was.

A story that consistently confounds expectations, The Alarming Palsy of James Orr introduces a writer of extraordinary and disturbing talents.


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Katie McGowan manages the translation rights for The Alarming Palsy of James Orr


Politely calamitous and deeply affecting. Tom Lee can actually do what many writers think they can do.

Cynan Jones

In this disquieting novel, Lee explores how briskly the pleasures that we take for granted can vanish... Lee’s writing pulses with humour and an appreciation of the abject silliness of human beings.

The Times

The story [Tom Lee] tells casts on the reader a stealthily mesmeric spell. It bewitches you glacially and obliquely, moving from genteel and bracingly perceptive descriptions of suburban life to the imagining of an environment in which time, reality and ethics appear disturbingly out of joint.

The National

Tom Lee’s debut, The Alarming Palsy of James Orr, is more than Kafkaesque... Like many not obviously funny things, Lee’s novel is indeed funny.

The Guardian

This is a quietly brilliant novel that questions whether conformity itself is a form of illness. 


Cathryn Summerhayes
+44 (0)207 393 4281
Email Cathryn Summerhayes