John the Pupil

David Flusfeder

The extraordinary new novel from David Flusfeder.

‘John the Pupil’ is a medieval road movie, Umberto Eco seen through the eyes of Quentin Tarrantino, recounting the journey taken from Oxford to Viterbo in 1267 by John and his two companions, at the behest of the friar and magus Roger Bacon, carrying a secret burden to His Holiness Clement IV. As well as having to fight off ambushes from thieves hungry for the thing of power they are carrying, the holy trio are tried and tempted by all sorts of sins: ambition, pride, lust – and by the sheer hell and heaven of medieval life.

Erudite and earthy, horrifying, comic, humane, David Flusfeder’s extraordinary novel reveals to the reader a world very different and all too like the one we live in now.

Reviews of John the Pupil

    • ‘There is never a dull moment on this trip … The vicissitudes of John’s journey are a delight to follow … The result is a vividly atmospheric sense of period and, in character of John the Pupil, a richly comical and engaging hero … Learned, funny and strikingly original, this is a hugely enjoyable read’ Rose Wild, The Times
    • ‘The cover blurb for his seventh novel compares David Flusfeder with Umberto Eco and Quentin Tarantino … this is a novel far more original and ambitious than such a description would suggest … His sentences [are] elegant, unusual, often beautifully and brilliantly measured … It is hard not to see all too much of our contemporary conundrums wrapped up in John’s. His narrative is made of diversions and other people’s words … Can we really believe it? Does he – John or the translator – even believe it? This uncertainty brings out further questions – What should I allow others to know? How honest can I be? How much of my experience is my own? – questions that are explored with generosity and rigour in this superbly written and intellectually stimulating novel.’ Stuart Evers, Independent
    • ‘Original, unusual, intriguing: Flusfeder just keeps getting better and better’ Mail on Sunday
    • ‘Flusfeder writes impressively measured prose, provides a convincing look inside the medieval mind, and provokes some interesting ideas’ Daily Mail
    • ‘Flusfeder brilliantly recreates both the mental and physical landscapes of medieval Europe’ Mail on Sunday
    • ‘Plunges the 21st-century reader into a world where very little is recognisable. The fact that Flusfeder achieves this so triumphantly is highly impressive’ Telegraph
    • ‘It is certainly a lively tale and will appeal to anyone who is a fan of Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose”’ AN Wilson, Financial Times
    • ‘Umberto Eco through the eyes of Quentin Tarantino’ Louisa Young, Daily Mail