A brilliantly dark and unsettling novel from the author of the Booker longlisted Heliopolis and one of the UK's most talented young writers.
Perilously ill, Jasper Scriven spends his days roaming the wards of a derelict psychiatric hospital on England’s southeast coast.
His daughter Cleo works in London as a news editor, making palatable stories of the world's events and trying to stay one step ahead of her demons.
Meanwhile, she is watched by Roland, a hulking, silent figure who inhabits a network of railway arches, emerging at night to pound the streets and burgle homes to order.
These three solitary characters are connected by an accident that took place at the hospital in the aftermath of its closure – an event that defies understanding even as it continues to define them. Their attempts to negotiate the past will bring them together again and force them to revisit their actions, however uncomfortable that may be.
In this brilliantly imagined and disturbing novel, James Scudamore explores the fallibility of memory, the notion of madness and the way events resound in both people and places.
Recommend this book
Add your recommendation
Only registered users can recommend books. Please use the buttons below to either create a new account, or sign-in to an existing account.
An immersion in the physical and psychic ruins of a contemporary Britain which enchants and disturbs, lures and repels. The inner poetry and descriptive mastery of James Scudamore's Wreaking are riches which cannot be forgotten. If you only read one novel in coming times, make it this astonishing and deeply moving chronicle - Alan Warner
There can be no doubting the remarkable scope of this writer’s imagination, nor the skill of his prose. He has a genius for atmosphere... If Charles Dickens is one influence, Breaking Bad is surely another - Spectator
A gripping exploration of mental illness… A compelling update of a Gothic novel… The real pleasure of this book is Mr Scudamore’s masterly and unflinching prose - The Economist
A quietly remarkable novel that resonates with universality - Literary Review
Wreaking itself is drawn brilliantly with both precise and pungent descriptions… The descriptions of teenage boredom by the sea and adult ennui in the city are stingingly realised… Sharply hewn, inventively structured and unnervingly written - Observer
A self-conscious and self-reflexive novel. It is the building itself that looms largest… And though, like Thornfield and Manderley, we find Wreaking broken by time, weather and debt, it commands our attention - Times Literary Supplement
A creepy chronicle of abuse, abandonment and unrequited love… So much here is brilliant - Metro
Everything we most want to know, the author quietly looks away from, until the story becomes as layered, contorted and interrupted as the collapsing architecture of Wreaking itself. Then time straightens out and speeds up suddenly… Everything connects. Everything comes to light. Everything is revealed, yet somehow the buckling of time induced by subjectivity, madness and metaphor makes it all just as hard to see - Guardian
The question of what constitutes madness... is intelligently explored. Bold, grotesque, bawdy...memorable - Independent On Sunday
Relentlessly inventive - Sunday Telegraph
Intensely imagined - Sunday Times
Settings don’t come much more Gothic than Wreaking, the derelict, decaying...psychiatric hospital of James Scudamore’s striking third novel - Daily Mail
This is the work of a writer totally at ease with, and confident in, his powers. A wonderfully assured novel with scope and ambition and with enough of a mystery at its heart to keep the reader hooked till the end - We Love This Book
We are left with the characters in our heads for days, and the sense of unease that Scudamore cleverly conjures up - Press Association Syndication
A twisted, unsettling tale of family lies and lonely souls - Shortlist
James Scudamore is the author of two previous novels. His first, The Amnesia Clinic, won the 2007 Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for four other prizes, including the Costa First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His second, Heliopolis, was longlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize. He has held two fellowships at the University of East Anglia, and is on the MFA faculty of City University Hong Kong.