The Cartoon Life and Loves of a Stupid Man

Marc Joan

Deixis Press



ISBN: 9781739708191


Publication date: 28 November 2023

Rights: World




As an independent comic book store owner and the heir to a pharmaceutical fortune Philippe Favrier lives a life that straddles the real world and the realm of fiction. Struggling with mental illness Philippe relies on his wife Marilyne – a successful surgeon with her own haunting secrets – and a groundbreaking drug his father developed. Bound by their shared pain they navigate their haunted lives forever shadowed by the heart-rending loss of their baby Antoine.

Their fragile world begins to crumble when Philippe catches a disturbing glimpse of an unfamiliar profile in the mirror. And his uneasiness is further fueled by an anonymous comic strip that arrives at his store featuring a character bearing an eerie resemblance to him.

Is Marilyne hiding an affair? Is she connected to the comic strip that’s tormenting him? As he probes deeper Philippe is drawn into a web of deception where the lines between reality and imagination blur – until his investigations into Marilyne and the malicious comic artist at last reveal the tragic truth.


‘The absorbing winter escape of a read that I had been seeking’

Prashanth Gopalan  Strange Horizons

‘Riddled with mysteries the darkest of human emotions and it is a book that will instigate curiosity yet send a shiver down your spine each moment you turn a page’

India Today

‘I find the astonishing stories collected — and arranged chronologically by historical era — to be consistently enthralling amazing and powerful. They are beautifully written and filled with both sharp characterizations of conflicted complicated people and rich multi-layered detail about the states landscapes history and lingering myths of southern India. . . . I recommend Hangdog Souls heartily to all thoughtful readers who long to be immersed in a fulsomely realized world that skillfully combines very old mythologies and phenomenally new reflections on what they can still mean’

Jerrold E. Hogle Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of English University of Arizona

‘A complex and wildly ambitious novel which makes no apologies for bringing together contrasting genres and influences – from historical fiction to the Gothic from intergenerational family drama to “realist” fiction from supernatural horror to sci-fi all infused with elements of philosophy myth and spiritualism and conveyed in rich and beautiful prose’

Ends of the World

Marc Joan

Marc Joan, a biomedical scientist, was raised in South India and now lives in England. He has published ~25 stories in anthologies and magazines including Nightscript, Weird Horror, Lighthouse Literary Journal, Structo and Smokelong Quarterly. Competition results include: 2017/2018 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (finalist); 2017/18 Ink Tears Short Story Competition (runner up); 2017/18 Galley Beggar Short Story Competition (special mention); 2017 Brighton Prize (long-listed); 2018 BBC National Short Story Award (last 60 from ~1,000 entries); 2020 CRAFT Short Fiction Prize (top 4%); 2020 Punt Volat / Spencer Parker Memorial Award (winner); 2020 William van Dyke Short Story Prize (long-listed); 2020 Gatehouse Press New Fiction Award (Highly Commended); 2020/21 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award (finalist); 2021 Short Fiction / University of Essex International Short Story Competition (one of seven short-listed from ~780 entries); 2021 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize (long-longlist).