In a time when looking into the past has become a socially unacceptable and illegal act in
the Nation, a group of scholars are offered an attractive residency to allow them to pursue
their projects. When the residency transpires to be a devastating trick, these Researchers
go on the run, and soon discover that their projects all relate to one major event: the Isletese
Disaster – the decline and subsequent devastation fifty years earlier of a long-forgotten
roaming archipelago called The Islets.
One figure emerges as central to all of their work: Hester Heller, a reformed cult
musiker turned student recruited from the Institute for Transmission as an agent of the state
and tasked with gathering reconnaissance on the Disaster by using her old band Vehicle as
a cover. Heller is the key to the Researchers collective story, which they try to piece together
while evading their pursuers.
Compiled from the Researchers’ disparate documentation, recollections, and even
their imaginations, Vehicle is a metafictional work of literary speculative fiction, and a timely
and daring exploration of xenophobia, exploitation, the writing of histories and legacies, and
the politics of translation.
Jen will be in conversation with our bookseller Lea Deppe. Tickets cost £5 and include a glass of wine or soft drink and £2 off the book.