Sam Thompson’s grandfather was a friend of Samuel Beckett – they went to school and university together. “That’s been a bit intriguing,” he says, and an interest in style is apparent in his fiction.
Thompson, London-born but Belfast domiciled, is a critic and university literature and creative writing teacher as well as a novelist and is fascinated by the craft of writing. The Beckett-grandparental link found form in his second novel, Jott (2018), in which, aided by real letters between the two men, he examined their friendship in the 1930s. Meanwhile, Communion Town, he says, ‘is overtly a patchwork and an experiment’ in which ‘various voices tell various stories, and the idea is that they’re mutually incompatible — they belong to different genre-worlds’.