Jack Bick is an interview journalist at a glossy lifestyle magazine. From his office window he can see a black column of smoke in the sky, the result of an industrial accident on the edge of the city. When Bick goes from being a high-functioning alcoholic to a non-functioning alcoholic, his life goes into freefall, the smoke seemingly a harbinger of truth, an omen of personal apocalypse. An unpromising interview with Oliver Pierce, a reclusive cult novelist, unexpectedly yields a huge story, one that could save his job. But the novelist knows something about Bick, and the two men are drawn into a bizarre, violent partnership that is both an act of defiance against the changing city, and a surrender to its spreading darkness.
PLUME examines the relationship between truth and memory: personal truth, journalistic truth, novelistic truth. It is a surreal and mysterious exploration of the precariousness of life in modern London.
"Just brilliant: wonderfully written, beautifully observed, full of penetrating observations and an absolutely gorgeous dark-down wit." - Adam Roberts, author of THE BLACK PRINCE
"Wiles’s masterful prose and uncanny ability to find the truth in how we live makes this the perfect novel for our times." - James Smythe, author of I STILL DREAM
"With acid wit and an acute eye for the absurdity of our age, Wiles deftly holds all our ailments in balance. Plume is a chilling indictment of our big data present, an acerbic satire of gentrification and trendy disruption, and a painfully frank, deeply affecting anatomy of addiction. I was dazzled by it." - Sam Byers, author of PERFIDIOUS ALBION
"Wiles is basically Kafka, if Kafka had spent more time in British hotels and pubs." - David Baddiel
"The book is joy unconfined: the reader is sucked along unstoppably, but glorying too with uncomfortable recognition. Fabulous in every sense." - The Spectator
"It’s the suffocating, Ballardian sense of place and mental and physical deterioration that Wiles, a design and architecture writer when not a novelist, does so horribly well." - Financial Times
"Plume is mired in finality, the London novel – perhaps – to end them all." - Nina Allan, The Quietus
"[A] superbly observed “how we live now” satire on life and media in contemporary London." - The Sunday Times
"Self-aware, biting and very funny, Wiles’s novel is a stylish romp through hipster East London – and the black hole at its heart." - Tatler