A novel called Politics, described in the words of its cover like this: “In case you had not noticed,” writes Adam Thirlwell in his first novel, Politics, “in this book I am not interested in anything so small as the history of the USSR. I am not writing anything so limited.” In this epic miniature, therefore, Politics tells the story of three kids in their twenties falling in love with each other in London. And, simultaneously, it tells other, smaller stories: of Stalin on the phone, Mao in the bathroom, Osip Mandelstam in another bathroom, Adolf Hitler on all fours, and Milan Kundera in an argument. Politics is not (quite) about politics.’

First published by Jonathan Cape in 2003.

A novel called The Escape, described in the words of its cover like this: “The more I knew of Haffner,” writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, “the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.” In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition. For Haffner is 78. Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.’

First published by Jonathan Cape in 2009.


A book with fold-out pages, and upside-down text, that is a small demonstration of infinite stories, called Kapow!.

First published by Visual Editions, designed by Studio Frith, in 2012.

Multiples Project

A project for multiplying novels in any language.

Begun in a book first published by Jonathan Cape in 2007, continued in an issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern.