Portents, Pill-popping and an Almighty Strop
London has entered the Eighties and skies are darkening everywhere as violence starts to flood into the capital.
Lisa Moran is one of the most famous actresses of her day. She longs for more money, more sex and that one great role that will put her back in the national spotlight. Instead, she meets a strange young Welsh writer, Daniel Jenkins, who is something of a freelance prophet and who opens her eyes to the reasons for the growing violence in the land.
Apart from the prophet, Lisa runs a string of famous and dysfunctional men who include Andrei Barapov, the coke-snorting Russian ballet dancer who defected from his beloved homeland to America; Charles Judd, the crooked and extremely rich property developer, who showers her with expensive gifts and takes her to the dogs. And not forgetting her former husband, the increasingly deranged playwright John Orlan who, long after their divorce, keeps phoning in the middle of the night to abuse her.
Lisa is also constantly pursued by the rampaging ghosts of her famous former roles from Regina Giddens to Hedda Gabler. They can even take control of her when she is stressed – which is most of the time.
Jenkins has a wonderfully calming effect on her ghosts but suffers from his own apocalyptic visions which he believes are messages from God – messages he would prefer not to hear but which he has found he can block out with alcohol.
Together they embark on a global love story which is both moving and funny. But as they travel to Paris, Provence, Israel and New York, malevolence and violence threatens to overtake them. Eventually they must confront the demons now surrounding them – some of which, they realise to their horror – have been of their own making.
This is an astonishing, many-layered novel with a core of moral outrage. The book will make many people angry, particularly those in the media.
A most intense and heartfelt book by our most intense and heartfelt writer. Apart from the lovers, London is the third main character in the book and the story is simply terrific.
Phil Rickman, BBC Radio Wales
A triumphant book which has heart-rending moments as well as splendidly comic touches. What a vivid picture Davies paints of the media in all its excesses and daftness. The cover portrait by Harry Holland is achingly beautiful and, with a bit of luck and a fair wind, this book will be turned into a film which will shake the world.
Herbert Williams, poet and novelist
This novel leaves little to the imagination, though the sometimes provocative narrative is easily digested, as we delve into the minds of two deeply disturbed souls. Though based in the London of the 1980s, it has a highly contemporary feel to it. Tom Davies is an adventurous writer, and certainly Portents, Pill-popping and an Almighty Strop is a most original work of what we trust is fiction.
Norma Penfold www.gwales.com
A relentless earthquake of a love story from Tom Davies. Lisa Moran is one of the most famous and unhappy actresses in London who spends most of her time plotting how to acquire yet more money, fame and sex. She meets an odd Welsh writer, Daniel Jenkins, and together they embark on a global love story via Paris, Israel and New York, a journey which slowly becomes a nightmare. The doomed lovers are remorselessly drawn to their own hells in an unfolding tragedy which will live long in the mind of the reader.