‘I first heard about Solomon Wiese on a bright, blustery day on the South Bank…’Later that evening, at the bar of the Travelodge near Waterloo Bridge, our unnamed narrator will encounter that very same Solomon Wiese.
In a conversation that lasts until morning, he will hear Solomon Wiese’s story of his spectacular fall from grace. A story about a scandal that has shaken the literary world and an accusation of serial plagiarism. A story about childhood encounters with nothingness and a friend’s descent into psychosis; about conspiracies and poetry cults; about a love affair with a woman carrying a signpost and the death of an old poet.
A story about a retreat to the East Anglian countryside and plans for a triumphant return to the capital, through the theft of poems, illegal war profits and faked social media accounts – plans in which our unnamed narrator discovers he is obscurely implicated… A story that will take the entire night – and the remainder of the novel – to tell. ‘Reading Dead Souls feels like discovering the British Bolano, and not just for the gleeful dismantling of the cultural ego: the restless, searching sensibility; the precise tuning-in to contradictory voices.
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