The Wave by Lochlan Bloom
Published by Dead Ink / Cinder House 2016
Thank you to Jenny for inviting me to join this blog tour of such a great book!
As μ’s search progresses it slowly becomes entangled with two parallel tales – the stories of DOWN, a troubled publisher, and David Bohm, a real-life quantum theoretician in post-war São Paulo.
Just how far is it from London to Gotham City? Or from Paul Auster to Pierre Menard for that matter? Some people may think these sorts of questions are idle and ultimately meaningless but this book is not for them.
The Wave combines multiple narratives to blend metafiction, historical fiction and screenplay as each of the characters struggles to understand what is reality and what is fiction.
I’ve written this review at least three times because this book is a little tricky to describe, and trying to put words to screen has proven a task. You can’t really define this book, but it’s got a bit of science fiction and perhaps a touch of fantasy to some extent.
We have three narrators, and the central one wing μ who discovers a screenplay and then goes on the hunt for its character Ddunsel, DOWN a publisher who finds himself a little out of his depth and David Bohm a quantum theoretician who travels through São Paulo to work on one of his theories.
With each of th narratives you are aware of the reality/fantasy world divide, and instead of having the story based on one timeline we’re given the story at different points of the characters journey. This was an interesting way to tell the story, but at times a little confusing for me to keep up. But maybe that was just me
Furthermore the text is split into prose and screenplay layout which I surprisingly enjoyed. There’s a lot to take in with this novel, and so personally it was nice to have a screenplay to break this down for me.
Again Bloom gives the reader the opportunity to decide for themselves on what these stories are trying to represent. I’m not sure that Bloom was trying to come to one conclusion of this story but many, that is determined by the readers imagination and thoughts- quite a mysterious thing I think?
I have to confess that like with many science fiction books I read, some terminology went right over my head and I was kind of guessing what things meant. I didn’t feel this spoilt the plot, but it helps to have some knowledge I guess of which I did not have but never mind!
A very interestingly written book, and not what I expected at all. I can’t compare it to anything else I have read, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Lochlan Bloom.
* Fancy a cheeky excerpt to tease you guys even more? Go on then!
“A Local Entanglement
‘Hearst,’ the man said extending a hand. ‘My employer has been interested in your case.’
‘Your employer?’ μ asked. ‘What case?’
Was this a joke? Looking around μ looked for help, but nobody else appeared to be listening to this corner of the table. Was this man from the office? Human resources?
‘My employer has a very unique perspective on it.’
Hearst gave a lopsided grin that was entirely out of place and reached into his jacket pocket. He produced a small card, bright green in colour and about half the size of a business card.
‘He wants me to pass this on to you.’ Hearst put the piece of paper, for it was actually surprisingly flimsy, into μ’s hand. On it was written a number: 324-52-867. It didn’t look as if it was the correct format or enough digits to be a phone number. But it was the name below the number that caught μ’s attention. In a crisp dark green font was the name Ddunsel. μ’s heart jumped at the sight of the name. He was about to ask Hearst what it meant when the drunks returned from the bar.
They came bearing a tray of drinks, lurching gaily across the wet paving stones. Simmonds was no longer with the group and, when one of those who had remained outside asked where he was, they were told:
‘Simmonds was cunted.’
He was sleeping it off in the toilets. That seemed to be the impetus needed to split up the little party.
Now that their host was no longer present, those friends of Simmonds who had only turned up to be polite started to make their excuses and leave. Many of them looked as though they had already stayed longer than they would have liked, and seized this opportunity in case Simmonds should miraculously wake up and corral them into further festivities.
Meanwhile, the contingent freshly returned from the bar seemed determined to get drunk with or without Simmonds and were quite oblivious to anything but their own inebriation. They laughed and shouted across each other as the rest left. There was a short flurry of activity as everybody disentangled from the table, putting on scarves and coats and shaking hands. It was only after this commotion subsided that μ noticed his mysterious companion, Hearst, had disappeared.
μ had been hoping for an opportunity to restart the conversation and speak to this man further, but in the confusion he had somehow slipped away. What had he meant by his ‘case’? Was he really employed by someone called Ddunsel? The way he had handed the card over had suggested he was serious, but then what, if anything, did that have to do with the script? Was Hearst responsible for sending it from Brazil?
Did that tease you a bit? Well in that case grab your copy of The Wave by Lochlan Bloom here
Lochlan Bloom is the author of the The Wave as well as the short novellas Trade and The Open Cage. The BBC Writersroom describes his writing as ‘unsettling and compelling… vivid, taut and grimly effective work’. He has written for BBC Radio, Litro Magazine, Porcelain Film, IronBox Films, EIU, H+ Magazine and Calliope, the official publication of the Writers’ Special Interest Group (SIG) of American Mensa, amongst others. Lochlan lives in London and does not have a cat or a dog.