Christopher Priest has announced that he’s finished a new novel and submitted it to his publishers. This is always an exciting occurrence to me. I’ve written previously about Priest (here, here, and here). Here’s part of what I said three years about his book The Islanders:
The book is written in a terse, attractive style that I found readable and unusually compelling. If you’ve read Priest’s previous novels, particularly of course the Dream Archipelago collection or The Affirmation, this style will be very familiar to you. Priest’s work deals with the reality of the porousness of the boundary between reality and imagination. That is, like most novels, it is liminal: you are half in and half out of the imaged world. (This itself is a form of twinning; of saying that our knowledge and experience of reality is not independent from the way we imagine it to be, a motif going back to Kant.) This creates new geographical landscapes.
The new book is called The Gradual. If you’re familiar with Priest’s work you might appreciate his description of the new novel:
The Gradual is the first conventionally written novel I have produced since The Extremes in 1998: it is a straightforward narrative told in sequence. It is about time and the perception of the passing of time. There are those who have said they noticed certain recurring images in my recent novels: identical twins, for instance, or stage magic, or invisibility, or the sainted presence of H. G. Wells. Such critics will not find any of them in The Gradual. The narrator is also completely reliable. Hah.