Brilliantly rendered prose. This is a rich complex network of stories which are supposedly subtly linked, but for the most part I couldn't see those relationships. The stories require vigilance and concentration. Reading the stories of Communion Town was to constantly be reminded that the reader is only a visitor there, and will never really understand that odd and vaguely menacing place.
This is Sam Thompson's first novel but his writing is remarkably assured and confident. He has an amazing facility for writing in different voices, most notably in 'Gallathea', a dynamic and muscular hardboiled-crime style story, replete with a gumshoe detective that calls women "dames". In 'The Significant City of Lazarus Glass', the story is told in the style of a Sherlock Holmes caper, and even ends with satisfyingly, albeit bizarrely twisted, inevitable logic. "City Room" is told from a child's knee-high view and is tinged with inarticulate fears of things that can't be understood.
At the edges of the stories are shadows of creatures and of the Flaneur, ill-defined, barely mentioned, and swiftly abandoned when they feel the reader's gaze.