Plume by Will Wiles - review by Tom Williams

Tom Williams

Life in the Big Smoke



Fourth Estate 370pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Will Wiles’s Plume begins with an explosion in east London that is felt by its protagonist, Jack Bick, as he sits in a Monday meeting and waits for the ripple to hit his phone. Bick is a journalist who writes profiles and an alcoholic, and the novel tracks a few days in his life as he seeks to push out a feature in order to justify his job at a failing lifestyle magazine, where he has developed a reputation for ‘latenesses, absences, missed deadlines, empty pages’.

Bick’s mission is to track down and interview Oliver Pierce, a reclusive writer who produced a highly charged nonfiction book, Night Traffic, about the experience of being mugged and its aftermath. Most notably, Pierce came to ‘a transgressive acceptance of what had happened’, ultimately deciding that in the modern city

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