Exactly What You Mean

Exactly What You Mean

The BBC Between the Covers Book Club Pick


Brought to you by Penguin.

From an exciting new voice in literary fiction comes a brilliantly innovative, tender and unsettling novel exploring what it means to lose our innocence

Surrounded by the dramatic beauty of Guernsey, a teenager discovers a secret and finds his betrayal has the power to ruin adult lives. In London, a marriage shot through with infidelity leads to a quest for revenge, resulting in a series of simultaneously comical and catastrophic events. And in California, as wildfires threaten landscapes and lives, a young veteran struggles with the trauma of war, seeking solace at a local ranch.

In this extraordinary debut, a cast of characters grapple with unexpected betrayal, the loss of innocence and the lies we tell. With sharp insight, Ben Hinshaw illuminates the unnerving nature of what it means to grow up, to be a teenager playing at adulthood and an adult playing games.

© Ben Hinshaw 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022


  • A surprising and enjoyable read . . . this novel without guardrails stands as a brave debut
    The Times

About the author

Ben Hinshaw

Ben Hinshaw is a British-American writer whose short fiction has received an O. Henry Prize and appeared in Granta, Harvard Review, The White Review and elsewhere. He grew up on the island of Guernsey and has also lived in London, Nottingham and Northern California. A former bookseller, he currently lives on Guernsey with his family.
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