1. 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.
2. 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.
3. A novella 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.
4. A novel called Lurid & Cute, described in the words of its cover like this: “This yarn takes place in the suburbs of a giant city. In Brasilia they’re coming off their night shift, in Tokyo they’re having a first whisky sour – that’s what’s happening elsewhere in the world when our hero wakes up. He has had the good education, and also the good job. Together with his wife, he lives at home with his parents, accompanied by his dog. In other words, the juggernaut of meaning was not parked heavily on our hero’s lawn. But then the lurid overtakes him – and whether this lurid tone is caused by our hero’s recent unemployment, or his feelings for a girl who is not his wife, or the return of his old friend Hiro, narcotic and neurotic, it’s hard to say. What’s definite is that a chain of events begins which feels to those inside it like one accelerating descent.”
First published by Jonathan Cape in 2015.
5. An inside-out short film called Everyday Performance Artists, that is an investigation of truth and lies - directed by Polly Stenham, featuring the voice of Shia LaBeouf and also starring Gemma Chan, James Norton and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.
Produced by Revolution Films for Random Acts on Channel 4 in 2016.
6. A short film called Utopia, that’s a minute description of communal living, starring Lily Cole, Lily McMenamy and Babirye Bukilwa.
Produced by Revolution Films for Random Acts on Channel 4 in 2018.