David Annand’s debut novel takes place in a morose industrial town, Peterdown – ‘low-rise, analogue, more broken than brokered’. Once the greatest manufacturer of locomotive carriages in the world, now ‘the future is coming to Peterdown for the first time in a long time’. The old goods line that passes through is being upgraded as part of Britain’s first ever bullet train system and the town will soon become the regional hub station of the High Speed+ network.
In order to accommodate such a transformation, however, a local landmark will have to be demolished. One candidate is the Chapel, stadium of the town’s second-tier football team, Peterdown United (capacity 20,000 – good, but not enough for the Premier League). An alternative is Larkspur Hill, a modernist housing estate.