Sam Byers’s first novel, Idiopathy, was about three people trapped in their own personalities, destructively and irredeemably themselves. His scorching follow up, Perfidious Albion, is about four people in the post-Brexit near-future, most of whom are pretending to be somebody else.
In the fictional town of Edmundsbury, Jess Ellis spends her time writing vicious, pseudonymous comments beneath her boyfriend’s thinkpieces. The boyfriend, Robert, is intellectually lost in a landscape of psychogeographers and ‘theorist poseurs’; racked with uncertainty, he longs to feel as sure as his writing sounds. Both Jess and Robert are appalled by Hugo Bennington, tabloid columnist and local rising star of the England Always party, which may or may not bear a gentle resemblance to UKIP. Hugo, who may or may not bear a gentle resemblance to Nigel Farage, is split down the middle, bewildered by the amount of PR required to make him sound like a common-sense bloke who calls a spade a spade: ‘His primary task was to be outspoken, but his other task