Will Ashon’s debut novel Clear Water concerns a shopping centre lying close to the Thames estuary in Kent. The centre descends 400 metres below sea level and has a sinister black space-shuttle decorated with a woman in a white ballgown on its trunk. The shuttle is designed to defend Clearwater (and potentially the whole of London) from attack but, instead, it makes the shopping centre a place of almost occult attraction to six strange but beguiling characters, ranging from an alcoholic ex-spin bowler to a murderous psychopath who has named himself King James.

Clear Water

The most immediately attractive of Ashon’s cast is Peter Jones, “the premier lifestyle journalist of his generation”, who has generated from writing style pieces about badly dressed friends to pieces about books, films, music, garden furniture and food and finally “the semiotics of whatever everyday object caught his attention”. Now he’s trapped as “the Kafka of the Designer Pepperpot”, imprisoned in a constantly simmering marriage, unable to cope with his swearing son, Gus, and fearing that he cannot summon up emotion about anything beyond the trivial. Jones is particularly interested in “blankness”, which may be a comment on the “blank generation” fiction of Ellis and McInerney, but seems more a way of separating Jones from the more emotionally intemperate characters that surround him.

Available in store and online.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s