The dark, doomy humour of Care of Wooden Floors mixed with the fantastical, anarchic sense of possibility of The Way Inn, brought together in a fast moving story set in contemporary London.
Jack Bick is an interview journalist at a glossy lifestyle magazine. From his office window he can see a black column of smoke in the sky, the result of an industrial accident on the edge of the city. When Bick goes from being a high-functioning alcoholic to being a non-functioning alcoholic, his life goes into freefall, the smoke a harbinger of truth, an omen of personal apocalypse. An unpromising interview with Oliver Pierce, a reclusive cult novelist, unexpectedly yields a huge story, one that could save his job. But the novelist knows something about Bick, and the two men are drawn into a bizarre, violent partnership that is both an act of defiance against the changing city, and a surrender to its spreading darkness.
With its rich emotional palette, Plume explores the relationship between truth and memory: personal truth, journalistic truth, novelistic truth. It is a surreal and mysterious exploration of the precariousness of life in modern London.
Reviews of Plume
‘…a superbly observed ‘how we live now’ satire on life and media in contemporary London’ Sunday Times
‘The book is joy unconfined: the reader is sucked along unstoppably, but glorying too with uncomfortable recognition. Fabulous in every sense’ Spectator
‘In Plume, Will Wiles both re-invents and murders the London novel, in a spectacular act of evil, surgical intensity’ Warren Ellis
‘Plume’s cast of semi-sinister clowns aren’t the most sympathetic, but it’s the suffocating, Ballardian sense of place and mental and physical deterioration that Wiles, a design and architecture writer when not a novelist, does so horribly well. Plume is about a man trapped in a prison of his own making who endlessly gets nowhere at all’ Financial Times
‘Wiles takes us deep into a subtly altered London at the mercy of the malign forces of gentrification, and seemingly in the hands of a mysterious tech maven whose new app can track every user at all times…an eerie and sometimes pretty sharp satire on the more sinister commodifications of modern life’ Daily Mail
‘Just brilliant, full of penetrating observations and an absolutely gorgeous dark-down wit’ Adam Roberts, author of The Real Town Murders
‘Relentless in its energy, wit and imagination, it’s outstanding’ Mail on Sunday
‘Over the course of three novels, his world has emerged as a particular kind of anonymous 21st-century hinterland; whether it be the airport-accessible limbo of The Way Inn, the post-Soviet wasteland of Care of Wooden Floors or the outskirts of London as depicted in the present book: “beyond Barking the city really fell apart … We were in the distribution steppes, the pylon orchards’ Guardian
‘The perfect novel for our times’ James Smythe, author of I Still Dream
‘I was dazzled by it’ Sam Byers, author of Perfidious Albion