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The debut novel by Clinicality founder and editor Stuart Bateman is set for publication later this year. More clinical than brutal, it’s called Grind: A Novel. This is the first excerpt from it to be published anywhere, ever.

 

It was after half past six on a Thursday night at the end of May, and Adam was still at his desk, and the tables, graphs and spreadsheets on his monitor were beginning to blur. All of the other workers had left, the last to leave the floor had been Neil Benson, a renowned workaholic and famously single and friendless, married to his job and his vintage car. mid-50s, he still lived with his ageing mother and the sort of man who maintained a precision-combed side parting and wore vests under his cheap white short-sleeved shirts from Asda. Only the cleaner, Terry Fuckshit – so nicknamed on account of the fact he constantly cursed under his breath as he worked, invariably alternating between ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ or various adaptations thereof – remained. Adam watched for a short time as the grouchy middle-aged man worked his way down the office, using the same dirty cloth to wipe the surface of each desk as well as the buttons and handsets of each telephone. His bald head shone under the yellow-hued overhead lights. Out of earshot, Adam couldn’t hear his angry, bitter cursing. He rubbed his eyes and returned his focus to the screen. He kept his pupils glued there as the thick-necked man in a blue tunic came closer, utterances of filth audible beneath his breath.

“Fucking bastards,” he snarled. “Fucking crumbs and shit everywhere… fucking leaving half-empty cups on desks… shit… shitters…. bleeding fuckers…”

Adam acted as though he couldn’t hear, that he was so immersed in his work as to be oblivious.

“Working late, eh?” Terry Fuckshit barked as he smeared his dirt-encrusted cloth over the first desk in the row before Adam’s.

“Yeah,” replied Adam drably, not wanting to engage any more than was strictly necessary. Something about Fuckshit made Adam feel uncomfortable.

“’Ard luck.,” the cleaner commiserated gruffly. “I work late every fuckin’ night, mind,” he added with a clear resentment as he wiped streaks of murky water across the surface of the next desk.

Adam didn’t reply.

Soon, the cleaner was at his desk. “Wannit cleanin’?” Fuckshit asked, hefting the cloth in his hand, the tattoos on his knuckles spelling ‘HATE’. The faded blue ink was fuzzy round the edges, and Adam couldn’t help wondering if he’d done the work himself – and if he’d had the work done in prison.

“Er, no, it’s ok thanks,” Adam said, as lightly as he could muster.

“Suit yersself,” Fuckshit growled and moved on to the next desk.

When he’d completed his round of cursory germ-spreading desk-wiping, Fuckshit began vacuum cleaning the stained, staple-dotted carpet, cursing all the while, and Adam decided it was time to leave.

Monday 28th March sees Christopher Nosnibor’s novella From Destinations Set published as a trade paperback by Clinicality Press.

In his first major work since THE PLAGIARIST in 2008, writer, reviewer and blogger Christopher Nosnibor takes an innovative approach to narrative to present a disorientating yet compelling story. Focusing more closely on plot and character than its predecessor, From Destinations Set reigns in the wildly experimental tendencies of THE PLAGIARIST to produce a gripping tale of two men as they grapple with the stresses of everyday modern living. Interwoven narratives may be common in postmodern fiction, but From Destinations Set uniquely presents them simultaneously on the page, side by side, while at the same taking a warped, disorientating approach to chronology. A challenging and truly unique book, From Destinations Set has all the makings of a future cult classic.

Synopsis:

Tim and Anthony are very different people, leading very different lives, following different careers in different cities. Tim is a conformist: office job, moderately successful, and teetering on the brink of a premature midlife crisis. Anthony is a rebellious non-conformist: a writer who sneers at the humdrum and derides ‘corporate sell-outs.’ But are they really so very different?

Tim is tortured by the tedium of his job and struggling with his work / life balance. The combined pressures of his circumstances and his mindset are contriving to push him close to losing the plot. The fact that he keeps finding himself in strange places and situations, with no recollection of how he got there only exacerbates his fear that he’s going mental.

Anthony has a book to write, and a deadline. He has plenty of ideas, but is having difficulty expressing them. As time begins to run short, he hits the bottle and embarks on a frenzy of revision, through which author and narrative become difficult to separate from one another.

The two narratives of From Destinations Set trace these characters’ activities as they occur in parallel – not only in terms of time, but also literally, with the page divided into two columns with one story in the left, the other in the right. As events and personalities unravel in each of the two separate stories, the similarities, rather than the differences, become apparent. But more than this, as the two plots develop, questions are raised as to precisely who’s writing the script: is Tim’s dislocation symptomatic of his breakdown, or is there some connection between him and Anthony?

These questions are not intended to be answered: From Destinations Set does not seek narrative closure, and is not primarily a plot-driven work. Instead, the narrative, in which time-shifts and repetition are frequent, is forged from the fabric of everyday life, exposing the idea of ‘character’ and ‘plot’ as social and literary constructs and posing questions to which the reader must find their own answers.

From Destinations Set will be available direct from Clinicality Press and all good on-line book retailers priced £5.99.

If you’re interested in reviewing the book or simply want more details, please get in touch via the website for further information.

http://clinicalitypress.co.uk