From the award-winning author of Heliopolis and The Amnesia Clinic
Three solitary characters remember their shared past in a sprawling, derelict psychiatric hospital on the English coast: a turbulent summer in the aftermath of the hospital's closure that culminated in a shocking, life-altering accident. But the more each tries to comprehend the past, the more elusive it becomes. Wreaking is an intricate, labyrinthine novel about the opiate power of place, the fragility of sanity and the fickle nature of memory.
'Rare novels have courage and grace of belief in both themselves and the remarkable worlds they gift to us. James Scudamore's Wreaking is such a novel: an immersion in the physical and psychic ruins of a contemporary Britain which enchants and disturbs, lures and repels. Its inner poetry and descriptive mastery are riches which cannot be forgotten. If you only read one novel in coming times, make it this astonishing and deeply moving chronicle.' Alan Warner
'There can be no doubting the remarkable scope of this writer’s imagination, nor the skill of his prose. He has a genius for atmosphere. Wreaking is... overflowing with images and ideas and influences.' Cressida Connolly, Spectator
'Wreaking itself is drawn brilliantly with both precise and pungent descriptions… The descriptions of teenage boredom by the sea and adult ennui in the city are stingingly realised… Sharply hewn, inventively structured and unnervingly written.' Stuart Evers, The Observer
'Everything we most want to know, the author quietly looks away from, until the story becomes as layered, contorted and interrupted as the collapsing architecture of Wreaking itself. Then time straightens out and speeds up suddenly… Everything connects. Everything comes to light. Everything is revealed, yet somehow the buckling of time induced by subjectivity, madness and metaphor makes it all just as hard to see.' M. John Harrison, Guardian
'A gripping exploration of mental illness… A compelling update of a Gothic novel… The real pleasure of this book is Mr Scudamore’s masterly and unflinching prose. The Economist
'A quietly remarkable novel that resonates with universality.' Literary Review
'A creepy chronicle of abuse, abandonment and unrequited love… So much here is brilliant.' Metro
'A self-conscious and self-reflexive novel. It is the building itself that looms largest… And though, like Thornfield and Manderley, we find Wreaking broken by time, weather and debt, it commands our attention.' Times Literary Supplement
'Settings don't come much more Gothic than Wreaking, the derelict, decaying psychiatric hospital of James Scudamore's striking third novel.' Daily Mail
'The question of what constitutes madness... is intelligently explored. Bold, grotesque, bawdy... memorable.' Independent On Sunday
'Relentlessly inventive.' Sunday Telegraph
'Intensely imagined.' Sunday Times
'This is the work of a writer totally at ease with, and confident in, his powers... a wonderfully assured novel with scope and ambition and with enough of a mystery at its heart to keep the reader hooked till the end.' Bookmunch
'A stunning novel of madness and decay… Worthy of as much praise as can be thrown at it.' We Love This Book, The Bookseller
'We are left with the characters in our heads for days, and the sense of unease that Scudamore cleverly conjures up.' Press Association Syndication
'A twisted, unsettling tale of family lies and lonely souls.' Shortlist