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Preview — Communion Town by Sam Thompson
Communion Town: A City in Ten Chapters
The iridescent, Man Booker longlisted Communion Town is reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten and Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, it is the story of a place that never looks the same way twice: a place imagined anew by ...more
What is it about? Is it about anything, really? I thought I was catching clues, like the clever use of grammar: `Time is strange in certain rooms.' Then ...more
Have you noticed how each of us conjures up our own city? asks the book's opening title story of Ulya and Nicolas, a pair o ...more
There are unknown creatures (maybe monsters?) in at least one story, unnamed narrators, and the city morphs between feeling Soviet to English to ...more
And I started with Communion Town.
I wish I hadn't.
I struggled to get through it and was bored by the characters in the shorts. Not liking or identifying with a character in a short story is fine, because you only live with them for a few pages. When you live with the sa ...more
This is Sam Thompson's first novel but his writing is remarkably assured and confident. He has an amazing fa ...more
The subtitle of Communion Town is "A city in ten chapters," although it's really a collection of ten short stories with different characters in each one. Common among them all is the city which "doesn't stop, however a ...more
Have you noticed how each of us conjures up our own city? You have your secret haunts and private landmarks and favourite short cuts and I have mine, so as we navigate the streets each of us walks through a worlds of our own invention.
This strange and uneven but fascinating "novel" (using the term loosely) is set in Communion Town, a fictional modern city which is recognizable yet ...more
Ten stories, apparently, and ac ...more
As with all short story collections, the quality varies. The first couple are outstanding and 'The Song of Serelight Fair' (the second story), is particularly haunting and completely hypnotic.
The two weakest stories in my opinion are pastiches ...more
I don't understand why the author writes it, I don't understand why the publisher publishes it, I don't understand why it gets shortlisted for the Booker Prize and I don't understand why anyone would give it to me to read.
Tedious and self-indulgent are the words that immediately come to mind. If all the threats, mysteries, in fact, anything of real interest is not describ ...more
Communion Town is a “city in ten chapters,” which is a fancy way of saying that it’s a bunch of short stories with a few mild links, all taking place inside the same constantly shifting, everywhere-but-nowhere metropolis. I’m quite partial to stories that explore and celebrate the concept of the city – see Brandon Graham, China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer, and, I suppose, Philip Re ...more
I wanted so badly to love this novel. I did, nearly, from the start, just reading the description there in the New Fiction racks at the library. I still do, in a way. The concept, at least. "Each of us conjures our own city, one of many incarnations; a place throbbing with so many layers, meanings, and hidden corners cannot be the same for any two citizens." Even after reading the book, I read that sentence and my ...more
Communion Town seems like the author took his dreams (even nightmares) and put them together as short stories. None of the stories really made sense, and there was no type of ending. There was a ...more
Each of the ten stories i ...more
Some lines I liked:
"Nowhere is exactly as you think it's going to be, and when you settle in a strange city you soon find out there's more to learn than you suspected."
"And I know you can't help holding the city ...more
When I finished it, I wasn't overly impressed. Rather than a novel, it's a collection of ten short stories on Communion Town, or 'a city in ten chapters', as the first page of the ...more
I'll admit that I didn't give Thompson as much attention as it seems like he'd prefer. I was vaguely aware of him rotating through different literary forms as I moved story to story, for instance. It's just that I couldn't really bring myself to care -- the puzzle of what each story represented wasn't enough to interest me, so why waste time wracking my brain? ...more
And then I got stuck in. And annoyed at first. I mean, a series of 10 stories about a quasi-fictional town, but clearly about London. Which annoys the hell out of me. Obreht did the same thing in Tiger Wife. It is so redundant. We all know what you mean and we c ...more
The basics: The tagline for Communion Town is "A City in Ten Chapters." Aside from setting the stories have little in common, but instead they give ten different perspectives on the city of Communion Town.
My thoughts: I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this novel. I imagined the stories to have some overlapping characters and places. Instead, the more I read, the more convinced I became this book is not really a novel. Ultimately, ...more
Thompson may be a debt novelist, but he has talent in spades and uses the ten chapters to demonstrate his versatility to perfection. Some stories read like science fiction, another is straight from Chandler. Some are short, others more lengthy. Some have almost complete resolution, others feel like they end just as they are getting started.
INTRODUCTION: "A city in ten chapters.
Every city is made of stories: stories that intersect and diverge, stories of the commonplace and the strange, of love and crime, of ghosts and monsters.
In this city an asylum seeker struggles to begin a new life, while a folk musician pays with a broken heart for a song and a butcher learns the secrets of the slaughterhouse. A tourist stra ...more
Sam Thompson’s Communion Town is shape-shifting and ever-changing like the city itself. Its ambiguity is perhaps the main reason behind the lukewarm reactions of most readers. It’s not novel in the conventional sense of the word with traditional plot and narrative structure, but it’s not ordinary collection of short stories, either. The titular ten chapters can be read separately, but only when read together; the connections, common threads and motives arise.
Comparisons have been drawn to Italo...more
This city is no ordinary place. Here, the underworld has surfaced; dreams melt into reality and memories are imagined be ...more
There's a poetic grace t ...more
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