The Cut is a wound, of course, but it is more than that.
Cairo Jukes walks the towpaths of "the cut", the Black Country term for the canals that web this small region of England, the open veins of an old industrial order.
And then there is Dudley –a town at the heart of the Black Country – where a young woman runs through the market-place with her clothes on fire. Who she is? Why is she burning? And what part has Cairo played in her life?
We follow these two characters across a single day in Brexit-era Britain.
'I want to write this book because, like many people, in the days after the referendum I felt angry. But I quickly realized that my anger was different. I was outraged at a reaction which labelled seventeen and a half million people "stupid" or "racist" or simply lacking (too old, too poor, too far away from London, too white). In The Cut, I want to analyse the complex divisions undermining British society. We've been offered too many answers already, this is a story built on questions.' Anthony Cartwright
Why Peirene chose to commission this book:
'The result of the EU referendum shocked me. I realized that I had been living in one part of a divided country. What fears – and what hopes – drove my fellow citizens to vote for Brexit? I commissioned Anthony Cartwright to build a fictional bridge between the Britains that opposed each other on referendum day.' Meike Ziervogel
176pp, paperback with flaps, £12
Published June 2017