Tom is a young man without a plan. After graduating from university in the UK, his search for something meaningful sees him embark on a doctorate in political philosophy at the prestigious Laughton University in the US. When he secures a scholarship from the Willoughby T. Forsyth Foundation, the future’s looking bright across the pond…
After two relatively quiet years at Laughton, the election of Trump galvanises Tom to join the political activism sweeping campus, through which he finally finds a purpose – and a girlfriend! But in a cruel twist of fate, the budding progressive activist’s life is thrown into chaos when the sordid past of Willoughby T. Forsyth is revealed. Dumped, publicly shamed and with his bank account empty, Tom struggles haplessly through the fallout from under his desk. Will he ever make it out?
Witty and thought-provoking in equal measure, Pond Life is a satire of contemporary academia that questions the institutionalisation of privilege and highlights the dangers of unequal power.
Pond Life is a satire of contemporary academia and makes no pretension of dealing with any serious issues in a concentrated way. The references below inspired some of the themes in the book and might be of interest to those who found the novel interesting.
Stephen Buranyi. 'Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?' The Guardian, 27 June 2017.
Gary Young. ‘Why Every Single Statue Should Come Down.’ The Guardian, 1 June 2021.
Sam Knight. 'Britain's Idyllic Country Houses Reveal a Darker History' The New Yorker, 23 August 2021.
Musab Younis. 'To Own Whiteness' London Review of Books, 10 February 2022.
NPR: Throughline 'There will be Bananas' 9 January 2020.
This American Life ‘My Effing First Amendment’ 4 May 2018.
This American Life ‘Seeing the Forrest for the Little Trees’ 13 June 2014.
BBC 'Things Fell Apart' 2021.