The Fountain in the Forest
Distant revolutions echo through time in this Oulipo-inspired novel about the moment when Thatcher’s militia fatally wounded the British political counter-culture.
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When a brutally murdered man is found hanging in a theatre, Detective Sergeant Rex King becomes obsessed with the case. Who is this anonymous corpse, and why has he been ritually mutilated? But as Rex explores the crime scene further, the mystery deepens, and he finds himself confronting his own secret history instead. Who, more importantly, is Rex King? Shifting between Holborn Police Station, an abandoned village in rural 1980s France, and Stonehenge’s Battle of the Beanfield, The Fountain in the Forest transforms the traditional crime narrative into something dizzyingly unique. At once an avant-garde linguistic experiment, thrilling police procedural, philosophical meditation on liberty, and counter-culture bildungsroman, this is an iconoclastic novel of unparalleled ambition.
An engaging plot allows plenty of room for radical yet accessible interventions ... That all these stylistic fireworks can illuminate several rich plot lines, each with multiple twists, which an attentive reader will enjoy disentangling, is the best vindication of experimental prose.
A gripping police procedural ... Impeccably Oulipian in conception and execution … Sets the author and his readers a bracingly high bar.
Rejecting familiar influences of the past 20 years, White joins a handful of contemporary writers who are proving that the novel has never been more alive. He is a serious, engaging voice of the modern city.
‘White lulls the reader into absorbed bewilderment before weaving the strands together with all the deftness of a seasoned crime writer… Enjoy it as a noir entertainment or as an evocative picture postcard from the past.’
‘The Fountain in the Forest is fascinating, beautifully written and really original.’
A complex and twisting plot with a genuinely shocking and satisfying dénouement … an extraordinary novel where our sympathies are for a cop who as cop represents the very forces of repression the gut of the novel abhors… An astonishing achievement.
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