The Passengers

Will Ashon

An original and profound portrait of contemporary Britain told through the testimonies of its inhabitants.

Date Published
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An original and profound portrait of contemporary Britain told through the testimonies of its inhabitants.

‘A spectacularly enjoyable and compelling reading experience . . . funny, moving, surprising and thought-provoking. It humanises literature in this toxic moment.’
MAX PORTER, author of Lanny

‘Like a modern day Turner, Will Ashon surveys England with a novelist’s eye for empathy and craft. Fascinating.’
ROGER ROBINSON, author of A Portable Paradise

‘Seemingly simple yet so deeply profound, The Passengers is an absorbing insight into the lives and minds of so-called ordinary people: their hopes and fears and idiosyncrasies at a specific moment in time.’
CLIO BARNARD, director of Ali & Ava and The Essex Serpent

Between October 2018 and March 2021, Will Ashon collected voices – people talking about their lives, needs, dreams, loves, hopes and fears – all of them with some connection to the British Isles. He used a range of methods including letters sent to random addresses, hitchhiking, referrals from strangers and so on. He conducted the interviews in person, on the phone, over the internet or asked people to record themselves. Interview techniques ranged from asking people to tell him a secret to choosing an arbitrary question from a list.

The resulting testimonies tell the collective story of what it feels like to be alive in a particular time and place – here and now. The Passengers is a book about how we give shape to our lives, find meaning in the chaos, acknowledge the fragility of our existence while alleviating this anxiety with moments of beauty, love, humour and solidarity.

‘Will Ashon’s gloriously polyphonic book scales the heights. A deeply felt and humane portrait of where we are.’
NIVEN GOVINDEN, author of Diary of a Film

‘This book couldn’t have come into my life at a better time. It’s a guiding mate. It enters like a cat through a window, ready to take your attention and show you what it needs to.
TICE CIN, author of Keeping the House

‘A catalogue of startling intimacies. A brilliant, surprising, addictive book.’
CHRIS POWER, author of A Lonely Man