Plume by Will Wiles
English | 2019 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 950 Kb
Plume: 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.
“If their money’s green,’ Eddie said with a teasing little shrug, clearly relieved to be arguing with Freya and not Ilse, who could thus be answered by proxy. ‘Look, these pay, and quite frankly beggars can’t be choosers. You want to sit in on one of my meetings with the ad team. You don’t want.’
One of Eddie’s tics – along with the suffering-in-silence hands-in-the-hair – was starting sentences with the word ‘look’. You could see why he liked it: there was that note of Blairish candour, of plain dealing. It insisted on your attention and assent. But it was also a tell. It cropped up when he felt a discussion was not going his way. When he felt, for whatever reason, that he was not being sufficiently convincing. This was a double-look.
‘Look, they’re not going to do anyone any harm, they’re not going to kill anyone. You might not like them, I don’t care for them, but we need them.’
A silence fell.
‘Is that everything?’
Polly, the deputy editor, whispered, ‘Friday …’
‘Aha, Friday, yes,’ he said as he caught her eye. ‘A reminder of what we agreed last week: I’m not here next week, so the next Monday meeting will be on Friday, and it’s an important one. Has everyone kept the morning free?”