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The Adjacent Paperback – 10 Apr 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (10 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575105380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575105386
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Adjacent is puzzling, brilliant, frustrating, page-turning, disturbing and absorbing. (WERTZONE)

A beautifully written novel. (SCI FI NOW)

Thoroughly engrossing, and throughout Priest's scene-setting is impeccable. His descriptions of the workings of Bomber Command in the WWII section are worthy of Len Deighton. In the futuristic strand, he uses his flat, clinical prose to good effect to create a mood of oppressive menace. (STARBURST MAGAZINE)

Priest's novels are rarely easy, but they're always beautifully written and extraordinarily thought-provoking. (David V Barrett Fortean Times)

Priest touches on many of his favourite themes but shows us something new. (Roz Kaveney The Independent)

Christopher Priest's eerily resonant The Adjacent is one of his best novels. (Adam Roberts The Guardian)

Arguably his best yet. (Lesley McDowell The Glasgow Herald) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A superb literary SF novel of alternate pasts and futures from the author of the ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD-winning THE SEPARATION and the BSFA AWARD-winning THE ISLANDERS.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By M C on 25 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is not much need, in a review of The Adjacent, to go into the details of the story, and to reveal more than what is said in the blurb would probably detract from your enjoyment. In some ways it is a book of themes above plot. That is not to say there is no plot, indeed it is a compelling and intriguing mystery with a clear journey. Largely it centres around one main story, in which a photographer named Tibor Tarent, living in a bleak near future Britain, is shuttled around from place to place, trying to make some sense of what has happened to his wife, and for that matter the rest of the world. And then there are the surrounding stories, set in different times, apparently different places or perhaps even different worlds, and yet all somehow related. There is a feeling of constant threat, of displacement, constant movement, and a need to return home. Many of the the settings could be described as Wellsian futures (depending on your perspective of the future). It begins in a fairly standard manner but by the second half becomes increasingly surreal and entangled.

This book is like a best-of album of past Christopher Priest works. It touches on practically all of the themes you will find in his other novels. Duality, the unreliable narrator, magic, distraction, war and conflict, alternative futures and many more. Throughout the novel, it is clear that certain words have been chosen very carefully and deliberately. There are numerous reflections and sudden contradictions, an unsettling feeling of simultaneous amnesia and déjà vu.
The Adjacent rewards the attentive reader*, containing many references back to itself, and for that reason it is best read when you are able to pay full attention to what you are reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Christopher Priest is adept at mangling the mind of an unwary (and even a wary!) reader; all his books tangle, darkly, with our perceptions of reality and identity. His new novel, The Adjacent, is no exception, weaving his lifelong themes of shifting realities, alternate and parallel realities of time and place, and the alternate and parallel life of individual identity itself.

Other Priest meta themes to be woven in are prestidigitation, illusion and magic, state control, dystopia, mankind's heavy and bellicose footprint across the landscape of our history, and the lies and deceptions of our, public relations spin accounts of our time and culture, and the dark and shadowy underbelly of social control and our nightmare, `uncivil' selves.

The Adjacent weaves a story through several settings, beginning with a post-apocalyptic world, some 40 or 50 years ahead of today. Physicists have found another way of manipulating matter, which, similarly to the splitting of the atom, can be (and will be) used in the service of destruction and control, however much the invention may have been designed as `pure science for the good'.

The effects of global terrorism, environmental damage and twenty-first century religious wars have changed our world forever.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
A century or more in the future, Melanie Tarent is killed in a terrorist attack in Turkey by a frightening new weapon. The only trace the weapon leaves behind is a triangular scorch mark on the ground. Her husband, Tibor, returns home to Britain and learns that the same weapon has been deployed on a larger scale in London, leaving a hundred thousand people dead. There appears to be a connection to something in Tibor's past, something he has no memory of.

The events in Tibor's life have ramifications across the years. During WWI a stage magician is sent to the Western Front to help make British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy and has a chance meeting with one of the most famous writers alive. During WWII a young RAF technician meets a female Polish pilot and learns of her desperate desire to return home and be reunited with her missing lover. And in the English countryside of the near future, a scientist creates the first adjacency, and transforms the world.

Reviewing a Christopher Priest novel is like trying to take a photograph of a car speeding past you at 100mph without any warning. You are, at the very best, only going to capture an indistinct and vague image of what the object is. Photography, perspective and points of view play a major role in Priest's latest novel, as do some of his more familiar subjects: stage magic, WWII aircraft and the bizarre world of the Dream Archipelago. The Adjacent is a mix of the familiar and the strange, the real and the unreal, the lucid and the dreamlike. It's the novel as a puzzle, as so many of Priest's books are, except that Priest hasn't necessarily given you all the pieces to the same puzzle.
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