In college, a professor introduced me to a long eighteenth-century poem by James Thomson called The Seasons. Tremendously influential in its time, it is a lyrical and expansive description of the countryside. There is an entire language here that attends to and celebrates the natural world, and reading it, the salient feature is how rare that is. This is a loss, because it’s probably good for a person, to feel for wild places and to see them clearly. We treat this appreciation as something that comes naturally, but like anything else, you’ve got to learn it.
What’s it about: ‘Jersey 1987, and the storm clouds are gathering over Colin Bygate. Sitting on a headland stewing over the discovery that his wife used to date Rob de la Haye, a brash hotelier who is everything that Colin is not, he spots a pupil near the edge of the cliff. Worried that the boy may have intended to jump, he drives him home, hoping that his gloomy imagination was playing tricks. But when the boy fails to turn up to school the next day, Colin feels duty bound to track him down, pitting him against the Island establishment who would rather there was a little less noise around this particular absence. A web of characters is spun around this mystery, each with their own secrets. For living in Jersey, where everyone knows everyone else’s business, you must become your own island.’ Read more…
Occupation: Assistant Editor of Arete
Book: Left of the Bang
What’s it about: For failing concert pianist Tamsin Jarvis, the pressure is mounting. She thought she was happy with her adoring schoolteacher boyfriend Callum, but when Chris comes into their lives, that starts to change. In a few months Chris will be gone, leaving for his first tour of Afghanistan. Nothing seems to be working out the way Tamsin wants it to – in fact, she’s not even sure what it is she wants. Read more…
To celebrate the publication of Mainlander, 4th Estate were lucky enough to sit down with its author Will Smith (screenwriter of the Thick of It, VEEP and more). We spoke about The Thick of It, VEEP, the politics of the UK versus the US, working directly under the Messiah of satire Armando Iannucci, and the novel writing process. Listen to and download what we thought might be a fairly typical author interview, but very quickly descended into a laugh-a-minute chat about creativity, the anomaly that is Jersey, and accidentally writing feminist characters. Read more…
Today sees the publishing of The Way Inn, the second novel from Will Wiles, author of the acclaimed Care of Wooden Floors. The Way Inn takes the polished surfaces of modern life, the branded coffee and the free wifi, and twists them into a nightmare.