The Fountain in the Forest: first reviews

It is a great thrill that The Fountain in the Forest has had some substantial print reviews in the Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times and Spectator, as well online in Crime Time’s January round-up, and from the author and critic Nina Allan. Here are some quotes and links:

“a gripping police procedural […] impeccably Oulipian in conception and execution […] The Fountain in the Forest sets the author and his readers a bracingly high bar.” David Collard, TLS

“an engaging plot allows plenty of room for radical yet accessible interventions. The Fountain in the Forest can be read on several levels: as a crime novel, a Bildungsroman, a tale of protest and institutional violence, as well as a text written with the use of a mandated vocabulary. […] That all these stylistic fireworks can illuminate several rich plot lines, each with multiple twists, which an attentive reader will enjoy disentangling, is the best vindication of experimental prose. […] Let’s hope for more surprises in the next instalment.” Anna Aslanyan, Financial Times

Tony White’s latest novel begins for all the world like a police procedural, following the delightfully named sleuth Rex King as he investigates the grisly murder of man in a Covent Garden theatre. […] The Fountain in the Forest is a slow-burner. White lulls the reader into absorbed bewilderment before weaving the strands together with all the deftness of a seasoned crime writer. […] pays timely homage, in a far subtler way than certain self-styled Brexit novels, to the strength of British ties with the continent. […] The Fountain in the Forest is told with an obituarist’s unsentimental deference. Enjoy it as a noir entertainment or as an evocative picture postcard from the past.” Houman Barekat, Spectator

“A truly intriguing venture into the crime genre by the talented White […] But there is more to the novel than the actual plot, as White unveils a series of literary challenges which throw the whole story a softball curve, while never slowing the plot down. Engaging and at the same time a challenge, this is both a good read and a cheeky divertimento, and all rather unique.” Maxim Jakubowski, Crime Time

Tony White speaking at The Fountain in the Forest launch, Daunt Books, 11 January 2018. Photo: © Kit Caless, 2018

The Fountain in the Forest can be read with all the pleasure you might expect from a knotty police procedural, a knowledgeably detailed, intriguing and compelling police procedural at that. The story drives ever forward, even when it takes you backwards in time to take a look at the roots of the crime in question. Even when it flip-flops between two distinct time-streams and character identities within the space of a single sentence, the sense throughout is of a steady and satisfying accretion of significant information, i.e clues – exactly what you’d hope for from any good thriller. […] You could read the novel with no knowledge of OULIPO and enjoy it just as well. […] Anyone who enjoyed Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child or Nicholas Royle’s First Novel will love this book. Anyone who is into Ian Rankin or Denise Mina will love it, too. […] Above all, there is the joy inherent in a book well made: language expertly deployed, place wonderfully evoked, ideas, characters, memories, theories, political subtext brought vibrantly to life, a good story well told. The Fountain in the Forest would be a worthy contender for the CWA Gold Dagger. It is equally the kind of book that might win the Goldsmiths Prize. Read, and enjoy.” Nina Allan


Buy The Fountain in the Forest direct from publisher Faber and Faber

‘Under the Paving Stones’ — Faber Social and Tony White present a night of experimental fiction with Iphgenia Baal, Kirsty Gunn, Richard Milward, Joanna Walsh, Tony White and Eley Williams – 19 February 7:00 pm

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