Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012, Thompson “is a new writer working out what he can do, and realizing that he can do anything” (The Telegraph).
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 Miéville'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.