Book review: JAM by Jake Wallis Simons
As darkness falls on the M25, the flow of traffic comes to a halt. Time passes. More time passes. Then more. Drivers switch off their engines, then get out of their cars. And so the story begins . . .
In this bold, state-of-the-nation novel, Jake Wallis Simons brings together characters from all walks of life and explores what happens when lives collide on the M25.
While a novel set on the M25, the nightmarish orbital motorway that almost encircles London, might sound a little odd, I was immediately hooked. JAM opens as Dusk is falling on London and sweeps over the Capital, picking out people and places within it and providing a snippet of information about their lives.
If, like me, you’ve ever been on a train or bus journey and looked out of the window into the backs of people’s houses or gardens and wondered what their lives were like, or caught yourself doing the same thing about people sharing any other public space with you, then Jake Wallis Simons’ latest novel, JAM, is just the book for you.
Being somewhere with a bunch of total strangers is all very well when it’s for a known limited period of time or you’re just passing through, but JAM looks at what happens when you’re forced to spend time together in a traffic jam on a stretch of motorway in a signal blackspot. How will people thrown together by circumstance, rather than through choice or common interests, react to what’s happened? Will they interact with each other and, if so, how?
JAM is a terrific read: a fascinating, well written and beautifully structured look at a cross section of modern society and human beings in general.
Thanks to Lovereading and the publishers, Polygon, for providing a review copy. JAM is out on April 3rd from all good booksellers and online retailers. Jake Wallis Simons is a features writer for the Sunday Telegraph. This is his fourth novel. You can find out more about him on his Author Website or you can Follow Jake on Twitter.