Communion Town : A City in Ten Chapters
Overview - Each of us conjures our own city, one of many incarnations; a place throbbing with so many layers, meanings, and hidden corners cannot be the same for any two citizens. "Communion Town" calls to mind David Mitchell's "Ghostwritten," Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities," and China Mieville's "The City & The City," but is uniquely its own. Read more...
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More About Communion Town by Sam Thompson
Each of us conjures our own city, one of many incarnations; a place throbbing with so many layers, meanings, and hidden corners cannot be the same for any two citizens. "Communion Town" calls to mind David Mitchell's "Ghostwritten," Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities," and China Mieville's "The City & The City," but is uniquely its own. This incandescent novel maps an imaginary city and explores the lives of its outcasts and scapegoats. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different citizen--defining the city itself as a character, both protagonist and antagonist--and each is told in a different genre, from a hardboiled detective story to steampunk to gothic horror, displaying the great range of Sam Thompson's literary ability. As the novel unfolds in different neighborhoods, we encounter a lovelorn folksinger, a repressed detective, a slaughterhouse worker, a lost tourist, a bon vivant, and a ghost. From their lonely voices we gather the many-faceted story of the city: a place imagined differently by each citizen as he or she searches for connection, transformation, or escape.
- ISBN-13: 9781620401651
- ISBN-10: 1620401657
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Publish Date: December 2013
- Page Count: 279
Books > Fiction > General
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Sam Thompson’s debut, a novel of stories set in enigmatic Communion Town, landed a coveted spot on the Man Booker longlist. Like David Mitchell and Italo Calvino, Thompson has some fun trying out literary styles. One chapter is written as a noir-ish caper, another as a futuristic romance, another follows a serial killer, and there’s even a lovely childhood fable with notes of magical realism. The cumulative effect is of a world simultaneously revealed and obscured: just when you’ve gotten a grip on Communion Town, it’s transformed. Thompson’s sentences are graceful enough that he mostly pulls off these crafty fireworks—at least when it comes to miming a style. But too often, exhilarating sentences (like one describing the sea as “full of the movements of an anticipatory audience, rustling programs, shushing itself...”) are buried in descriptive layers that deaden an entire page. In the opening story, a dramatic event is obliquely mentioned over and over in the span of 20 pages. When the action is revealed, it hardly seems worth the wait. Thompson is a talented writer with a seemingly boundless interest in language and its potential; one can’t help but wish that he applied some of his energy to getting to the point. (Dec.)