The Novel
By Michael Kell Campbell

ISBN: 978-1-78382-165-5
Published: 2015
Pages: 330
Key Themes: Mental Health, Aspergers, Paranoia, Music, Humour, Mid-life crisis, Depression, Philosophy, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Residential care work, Anxiety


Peter Kane (A complicated man with a simplistic outlook) leads what one might describe as an ordinary suburban existence. He gets up, he walks the dog, he goes to work, he comes back home. He eats, he sleeps, he dreams, and he walks the dog again. And in between all this, he tries to fill his life with things that might possibly amuse him.

One day, at a car boot sale, he purchases a second-hand computer. In a document on the computer, he finds a diary. What he reads intrigues and disturbs him. He sets out to try to trace the writer, hoping somehow to help a lost, wayward soul mate. This takes him off on a journey of self discovery and self questioning. But he is about to find out… that no good deed goes unpunished.


The story is set against a back drop of suburban Essex. Where, the protagonist lives a dualistic life, revolving around his home environment with his dog, and his job as a care Manager. We witness the turmoil of him battling with modernity, and his sense of self belief, whilst trying to cling onto what he thinks he knows as truth….But in a world of ever changing linguistic labels tags and perspectives, just what is truth?

Humour can be used as a great coping mechanism, but also as a great weapon to control.

About the Author

Michael Kell Campbell was Born 1960 in Hainault Essex.

Michael is an outsider artist, AKA cadwollow-fink.
He worked as a sculptor for some years, and lived in parts of rural Essex and also North London and Cambridge. It was in Cambridge that he taught art and crafts to Adults with learning disabilities.

Feeling an empathy with his students, he decided to enter the Care Profession on a full time basis as a support worker. He eventually ended up Managing three different Care Homes supporting adults with LD, and a range of conditions such as Autism, Aspergers, Downs syndrome, Epilepsy, Dementia and schizophrenia.

Whilst back packing around America in the mid-eighties he was inadvertently involved in an incident with four under cover cops, and a deranged man brandishing a hand gun. Luckily for him he came out of it physically unscathed, but unfortunately took the full blast to the head emotionally.

Some time afterward, back in the UK, he was diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorder, along with post traumatic stress. This subsequently led to a nervous breakdown.

He has since tried to find the answers of being at odds with the world, through philosophy, art, meditation and music, with little success.

Then one day after years of soul searching, he had an epiphany, and has since spent the last few decades trying to remember what it was.

Book Extract

Looking around the dimly lit room, I see a large frayed tapestry pinned to one wall. Paintings of various sizes hang from the surrounding walls, amongst cluttered crooked shelves and overloaded bookcases. The wallpaper looks like it’s been partially stripped in places. There’s a Victorian gunmetal fireplace with a rubber plant growing behind a rusty fire-grate. On the mantelpiece is an old wooden clock surrounded by an assortment of small carved figurines, alongside a collection of coloured glass bottles… The place smells of cheesy feet, aniseed and TCP By the window, next to a paint-spattered easel, hangs a large papier-mâché lantern which could pass as a wedding dress for a fat person.

‘Nice place.’ I tiptoe around some boxes of books and magazines. Various tubes of paint lie scattered on the floor.

‘Is it?’ she mumbles.

I view the assorted canvases stacked against the wall… I’m not the greatest one for art. I’m pretty familiar with the toffee-waffle they spout on some of the programmes I’ve seen on TV, but basically, I know what I like, and that’s about it. I hold one up, and try to make the appropriate noises.

‘Hmm… Interesting.’

For the first time I see a human emotion from her, as she emits a stifled laugh. ‘Interesting… the word every artist detests.’

‘Why so?’

‘Because it’s the polite reaction of someone who doesn’t know what to say, or is frightened to express their true feelings.’

She’s right, but I’m damned if I’m going to go along with it. ‘Okay, I’ll make sure I avoid that word in future.’

‘Pour the wine.’

‘What did your last slave die of?’


Touché!... I should have seen that coming, really. I pick up another of the paintings, and take it towards the window… As I hold it up to the light, I glimpse the garden through the window, and I’m reminded of what compelled me to be here. I pull the curtain slightly, and look out of the window. Pretty much overgrown. A rusty bicycle propped up against a wheelbarrow in the left hand corner. A tiny mildew-stained greenhouse with cracked glass panes. Next to that, a brick-built shed with the door hanging off. Small paving slabs form a crooked path leading up to the end of the garden. And right at the back I spy... a cedar tree. Or is it? Not sure…Well, it’s a tree.

I look at the grass and weeds that grow beneath the tree.


As I turn around, she is standing right next to me, holding the bottle of wine. ‘Like the garden as well, do you?’ She turns away and opens various drawers in search of a corkscrew… After much banging and slamming of drawers, she finds it. I watch her struggle as she tries to pull out the cork. She stops, sighs and hands me the bottle. ‘Do it!’

I take it from her. ‘Wasn’t it you that sank the Titanic?’

She just stands in silence staring back.

I open it, and in my best head-waiter’s voice. ‘Would Madame like to…’

‘No.’ She snatches the bottle, and pours some wine into a glass, and sits back on the settee.

I stand holding the painting, trying to think of something to say about it that’s won’t sound patronizing to her ears. But all I really want to ask her is did she really murder her neighbour. How do you approach a subject like that, I wonder?

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 12 February, 2015.