Search
Get a personalised letter from Santa

Highbury author Jonny Hollis releases debut novel, A Rational Man, set in a near-future Islington

PUBLISHED: 13:43 22 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:55 22 August 2018

Author Jonny Hollis first considered the idea of a society without privacy while making a documentary about a Velvet Underground song

Author Jonny Hollis first considered the idea of a society without privacy while making a documentary about a Velvet Underground song

Archant

A Highbury author has written a thriller based in a near-future Islington where people have no right to privacy

A Rational Man by JS Hollis is available to buy from Friday September 28A Rational Man by JS Hollis is available to buy from Friday September 28

Ten years ago, Jonny Hollis was making a short film about Velvet Underground’s song The Gift when he had an idea: How would society function if people had no right to privacy, and everything that people said and did was thrust into the public eye?

At a time when people were first starting to share a great deal of their personal information on social networks, this idea was to be the starting point for Hollis’ debut book – A Rational Man – which is available to buy from Friday September 28.

“The book is set in Islington in the near future, thinking about a world where nothing is private and everything can be seen, heard and recorded,” he says.

“It’s like a democratised 1984, where information is available to all, as everyone can watch everything through the omnipresent ‘W’.

In A Rational Man, the high-profile politician Cecil Stanhope has killed his wife in an act totally out of his character. As a result of the all-seeing, all-hearing nature of this future society, Stanhope’s son Sebastian is left to piece his life back together under the watchful – and judgemental – public eye.

Hollis continues: “The book is about Sebastian worrying about how he is reacting. He becomes a personality and a well-known figure, but at the same time he is trying to deal with this traumatic event with no support.

“A Rational Man is an interplay between Sebastian’s true feelings and what people expect to see from him.”

Hollis, who lives in Highbury, has based his story very close to home. Sebastian grows up above the current site of Pentonville Prison, in an Islington which has become a place of windowless buildings where petrol stations are revered as beautiful relics of the past.

“I had quite a strong incentive to base it here, as the book has links to the idea of a panopticon, whereby prison inmates can be seen at all times, but they are never sure exactly when they are being watched. It was argued that this would be the perfect way to control a criminal community.

“Pentonville Prison itself was influenced by a panopticon, and (I based the story here) because of this link to the history of the area.”

In focusing on topics like the influence of social media on our well-being, data misuse and the enormous scrutiny placed on politicians’ actions, Hollis’ first novel weaves together plenty of contentious issues.

“There’s a fake news aspect to it. It’s about the abundance of information available to us – we can know everything about things that can be seen and heard, but we can’t get into people’s heads.

A Rational Man by JS Hollis is available via ebook and paperback from Friday September 28.

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Second in the series is a mid-franchise muddle of convoluted back stories with some stunning sequences

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tips on where to stay and what to eat in Dublin courtesy of our travel writer, Sophie Ritchie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When Alice Frick began telling jokes in comedy clubs across Austria and Germany, organisers paid little attention to her material. Instead, they suggested wearing a dress, high heels and “doing a little twirl after you’ve finished your set.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

As Americans everywhere prepare for a turkey feast with extra helpings of pumpkin pie, we’ve been out finding five of the best places for Thanksgiving this side of the Atlantic.

Promoted Content

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now