The B&N Podcast: John Lanchester Sees Tomorrow in a Dream

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

Today on the podcast, we talk with the author of such fascinatingly varied works as Capital, Fragrant Harbor, The Debt to Pleasure and IOU. With The Wall, John Lanchester looks into a startlingly near but radically altered future, one in which a nameless island nation has built a mighty barrier to keep out both would-be immigrants and rising waters. It’s a fable of both exploration and warning, one that pushes its readers to join its author in trying to imagine a tomorrow whose conditions may soon be a matter of headlines rather than fiction. When he sat down with us in the studio, John Lanchester explained how was the first time a book idea had ever grown so directly out of his unconscious mind.

The best-selling author of The Debt to Pleasure and Capital returns with a chilling fable for our time.

Ravaged by the Change, an island nation in a time very like our own has built the Wall—an enormous concrete barrier around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, a new Defender, has one task: to protect his section of the Wall from the Others, the desperate souls who are trapped amid the rising seas outside and are a constant threat. Failure will result in death or a fate perhaps worse: being put to sea and made an Other himself. Beset by cold, loneliness, and fear, Kavanagh tries to fulfill his duties to his demanding Captain and Sergeant, even as he grows closer to his fellow Defenders. A dark part of him wonders whether it would be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if he had to fight for his life…

John Lanchester—acclaimed as “an elegant and wonderfully witty writer” (New York Times) and “a writer of rare intelligence” (Los Angeles Times)—has written a taut, hypnotic novel of a broken world and what might be found when all is lost. The Wall blends the most compelling issues of our time—rising waters, rising fear, rising political division—into a suspenseful story of love, trust, and survival.

Explore all books by John Lanchester.

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