A highly imaginative, futuristic novel set in Lakes City, in North West England, revolving around three intriguing characters with extraordinary abilities.
Eiko uncovers secrets from shadows, smells memories, and reads between life’s lines; café owner Thorsen alleviates his customers’ mental afflictions with his mysterious culinary creations, and Zach gate-crashes others' private thoughts for his self-gratification. All three characters struggle to understand their unwanted gifts, and as their stories unfold and lives intertwine in this new British city, their mysteries unravel with tragic consequences.
This is a captivating story about human longing, loneliness and love - stitched with humour and irony, and the imaginary Lakes City provides an alluring backdrop for this futuristic fable. This cross-genre, fictional novel combines magical realism, science fiction and fantasy with the very real complexities of human relationships.
Lakes City sprawls across what was once Cumbria, and this new city retains space and natural beauty unlike other British cities which have become over-populated and plagued with inner-city viruses. Eiko is both an orphan and a lost soul; she moves to Lakes City to study, and her lectures provide a political and cultural backdrop of the time. But Eiko cannot escape feeling lonely and disheartened, as her insight leaves no room for surprise because she sees bad intentions before they are even fully realised by their owners. Much of Thorsen's story is set in his café, The Edible Remedy. Interesting and unusual people are drawn through his doors with their problems and modern phobias, but they are unaware Thorsen is curing them, as well as consoling them. Yet Thorsen’s own life is falling apart, not least because he harbours a devastating secret about what will happen to those he loves. Zach mainly uses his ability to mind read to manipulate women into bed. Highly intelligent, Zach is used to getting what he wants and he is easily bored. At work, he develops an illegitimate computer programme to do his job for him, which leads him to trouble. Usually the insincere lothario, Zach falls unexpectedly and desperately in love, but he cannot escape the web of deceit he has spun.
Despite all three characters' extraordinary abilities, they are more emotionally vulnerable than most. Their quest for acceptance and knowledge brings them closer to the truth of who they are, but it comes at a devastating price. You may conclude that sometimes, it is better not to know all the answers.