Sam Thompson

Know Your Booker!: Sam Thompson’s Communion Town

Communion_TownSo you think you know everything there is to know about Sam Thompson’s Booker nominated novel Communion Town? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

Communion Town is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:

Two travellers arrive in an unknown city: Ulya and Nicolas are asylum seekers, hoping for safety and a better life, but instead they find a haunted metropolis whose people live in fear of the monsters in the shadows. When her brother disappears, Ulya learns how easily anyone can fall into the city’s underworld.

Communion Town maps this imaginary city, and explores the ways in which it invents itself by creating outcasts and scapegoats. As the novel unfolds in different parts of the city, we encounter a lovelorn folk-singer, an introverted child, a repressed detective, a slaughterhouse worker, a lost tourist, a ghost and a gigolo. From their lonely voices we gather the many-faceted story of the city: a place imagined differently by each citizen as he or she searches for connection, transformation or escape.

Mixing the everyday with the gothic and the fantastic, Communion Town is a novel that deals in the uncanny: in doubles and repetitions; in things half-glimpsed; in desires half-acknowledged. It is a virtuosic piece of writing from a young writer of true talent.
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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Sam Thompson’s Communion Town (Review #3)

Communion_TownRating: 4.0
Communion Town
A Novel by Sam Thompson
2012 / 288 Pages

The Setup: ‘Have you noticed how each of us conjures up our own city?’

Every city is made of stories: stories that meet and diverge, stories of the commonplace and the strange, of love and crime, of ghosts and monsters.

Reminiscent of David Mitchell’s GHOSTWRITTEN and Italo Calvino’s INVISIBLE CITIES, this is the story of a place that never looks the same way twice: a place imagined anew by each citizen who walks through the changing streets among voices half-heard, signs half-glimpsed and desires half-acknowledged.

This is the story of a city. (From the hardcover edition)

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Sam Thompson’s Communion Town (Review #2)

Rating: 3
Communion Town
Sam Thompson
2012 / 304 Pages

With respect to the reviewers who are offering Communion Town 4 stars on Goodreads, the logic behind including this title in the long list for the 2012 Man Booker Prize completely escapes me.

Please don’t misunderstand; this book does offer an interesting format, with its 10 chapters doubling as short stories.  The common thread between these is the fact that each takes place in the same city.  Some chapters run wild with nameless characters, and some attempt to delve deeper, offering glimpses of everything from friendship to murder.

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Sam Thompson’s Communion Town

Rating: 3
Communion Town
Sam Thompson
2012 / 304 Pages

Sam Thompson’s Communion Town isn’t really a novel, but “a city in ten chapters.”  Citizens of Thompson’s fictional city experience a variety of pleasures and pains – but honestly, it’s mostly pain.  Much of the book reads like a crime noir novel – the city is full of mysterious, beautiful women, private investigators, butchers, murderers, and men who refer to women as “dames.”  The idea behind Communion Town is to portray a variety of experiences and perspectives in the same setting – to show the extremes of how different people experience an urban area.  But after finishing the book, I feel like the audience is only shown one aspect of the city – the awful, miserable, evil side.  Very few characters in Thompson’s book are happy to be a part of Communion Town, which I don’t think is a realistic portrayal of any city.  I mean, Hubert Selby, Jr’s New York is very different from Candace Bushnell’s new York, so I was expecting a much more stark juxtaposition of emotions and happenings.  Communion Town just felt too limited in its perspective.

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The Man Booker Award 2012 Longlist

ManBookerMan Booker fever is upon us!  Today the 12 novels that made the longlist were finally revealed and we’ve compiled each of their full descriptions for you below on one easy to read page.  The 6 titles that make the shortlist cut will be announced on September 11th and the ultimate winner of the prize will be announced on October 16th.

Look for this page to be updated with links to reviews as we continue to make our way through the longlist and keep checking BookerMarks for even more up to the minute Man Booker coverage.

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