Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he's lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights.
The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else.
He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day after day, night after night. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn't it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life?
John Lanchester's thrilling, hypnotic new novel is about why the young are right to hate the old. It's about a broken world you will recognise as your own-and about what might be found when all is lost.
The Wall was longlisted for the Booker Prize in July 2019.
John Lanchester writes with such clarity and effectiveness that his prose is a pleasure I always look forward to. His previous novels have all been memorable evocations of the world we're familiar with, but The Wall is something new: almost an allegory, almost a dystopian-future warning, partly an elegant study of the nature of storytelling itself. I was hugely impressed by it. Author: Philip Pullman
A dystopian distillation of our troubled times, and an allegorical glimpse at a still-grimmer future, The Wall reminds us that even as politics corrupts and destroys and presses on undiminished, the soul erupts in surprising places to act as counterpoint and resistance. This patient, direct, suspenseful novel is one such eruption, and a civilizing comfort amid the simmering bloodlust. Author: Joshua Ferris
In The Wall, John Lanchester takes our current political climate to its terrible and logical extreme. A harrowing, brilliant, and troublingly plausible vision of the future. Author: Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
With The Wall, John Lanchester follows his mind-boggling financial essays and his great realist novel Capital with a bold science fiction fable, a vivid, swift, chilling, and ultimately beautiful human story. All his work is of a piece-he wants his readers to see our moment better, and then do something about it. Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
'What might be the consequences of our obsession with consumption, and of global inequality and mass migration? In The Wall John Lanchester takes an imaginative leap into Britain's future to dramatise such anxieties.' Source: Prospect
As the details start to appear through the mist, the premise of Lanchester's novel emerges from the vagaries of fantastical allegory into something far more sinister . . . a gripping and gory novel . . . Lanchester writes lyrically about the attractions of camaraderie, and how they teeter on conformity; he also, when he needs to, does a very absorbing fight scene, with the action reaching exhilarating heights in the final third of the book. But mostly what we're left with is a question: how much of our humanity can we preserve once we accept a society driven by fear? We may not have to wait long to find out. Source: Esquire
'In the opening chapters, every aspect of the Wall is powerfully imagined . . . the book develops into a thrilling, action-packed adventure, without abandoning its broader anxieties about our divided world. The result is a rare blend of the unputdownable and the deeply melancholy.' Source: Reader's Digest
'The strongest post-Brexit novel yet: simple enough in conception but carried off with real aplomb . . . Lanchester proves a master of allegory and finds much light and shade, as well as human tenderness, within his overarching conceit.' Source: Mail on Sunday
'Short, sharp and shocking. The Wall demands a reading in one sitting . . . it's another Lanchester triumph.' Source: Metro
'The book creates the fantasy of a walled-off Britain, and reveals it to be a nightmare . . . Lanchester's fictional world is intelligently conceived and dourly impressive . . . The Wall certainly sticks in the mind: it is a resonant addition, from out of left field, to the growing body of Brexit literature.' Source: Sunday Times