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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 (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,528 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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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 May 2014
Format: Paperback
If you're like me and like your narratives to be mostly resolved by the end of the movie/book/story, then you might want to skip this otherwise excellent and intriguing book. I don't mind some ambiguity, but this was a case where I was definitely expecting some kind of "aha!" reveal moment that never came. Which is not to say that I regret reading the 3/4 of it I loved, but over the last 100 pages the book took it from a best of the year contender to an interesting item I'm happy to donate to the library book sale.

The story opens in a vividly rendered near-future Great Britain, or rather, Islamic Republic of Great Britain, circa 2040 or thereabouts. Global climate change subjects the island to major hurricanes, and an unspecified insurgency subjects the island (and much of the world) to political instability. None of this is spelled out in any detailed way, which I loved. Other authors would have gotten sidetracked for 50 pages establishing the details and background of this setting. Instead, we meet a photojournalist just returned from Turkey, where his wife was killed in a mysterious bomb attack. As he's shuttled around the IRGB to a series of safe sites for debriefing, things get more askew.

Suddenly, in the next section we're with a stage magician traveling to the front in World War I, where he's been asked to try and help camouflage airplanes while they're flying. Along the way, he meets and has extensive interactions with H.G. Wells. Cut to the next section, where we're in WWII, meeting an English bomber mechanic and a refugee female Polish aviator. These characters, places, times, and relationships are all clearly related, but just how is left murky.
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