DEAD SOULS follows the course of a single big night – most of which is spent in the bar at the Travelodge just off Waterloo Bridge. There the unnamed narrator meets Solomon Wiese, a poet who has been ostracized by the community after failing to pass a technology-based authenticity test. Solomon Wiese’s account of his rise and fall is a story that takes him the entire night and the remainder of the novel to tell. It is a story that touches on – amongst many other things – childhood encounters with ‘nothingness’, a retreat to the east of England, a love affair with a woman carrying a signpost, and Wiese’s plans for a triumphant return to the capital, through the theft of poems, illegal war profits and faked social media accounts – plans in which the narrator discovers he is obscurely implicated…

Reviews

Sublime, legendary, delightfully unhinged. Sam Riviere's Dead Souls is a rare and brilliant pleasure, a coiling, searing fugue of a book that takes our deranged culture and pulls forth from it a box of stars
Nicolette Polek, author of IMAGINARY MUSEUMS
Dead Souls is the literary equivalent of a 100% cocoa bar: intimidating, bitter, rich, and ultimately the only one worth your time. The novel seduces through relentlessly nested narratives, endlessly psychologically refracted. I have no idea quite how Rivière makes such an undertaking a compulsive and delightful page-turner - I wish I did, because I'd steal it. Something oracular and terrifying lurks just below the surface of the pitch-perfect digressions and character assassinations, like uncovering the evidence for a long-dismissed paranoia and finding yourself an unwitting instigator of the conspiracy. But it's also beautiful, intricately humane, and gut-wrenchingly funny; not so much cynical as a ruthless vivisection of cynicism itself... Reading it feels like discovering the British Bolaño, and not just for the gleeful dismantling of the cultural ego: the restless, searching sensibility; the precise tuning-in to contradictory voices. I haven't been so excited by a debut novel in a long time
Luke Kennard, author of THE TRANSITION
As Brontë does so disarmingly in Wuthering Heights and Nabokov in Pale Fire, Sam Riviere gives a loquacious and pleasingly unreliable nobody the task of telling the tale of Dead Souls' true protagonist: Solomon Weise, a recently excommunicated poet who seems to have been everywhere and known everyone. In long, sure sentences reminiscent of Thomas Bernhard, Riviere cracks open the administrative heart of the contemporary literary endeavor, finding it full not of hot air but of crowds of characters, a whole shimmering historical ecosystem-in short, the world as we know it, as mesmerizingly real as it is fictional.
Lucy Ives, author of COSMOLOGY and LOUDERMILK
I absolutely adored Dead Souls. Reading it felt like overhearing the most exhilarating, funny, mean conversation imaginable - which is to say it made me extremely happy and I dreaded it ending
Megan Nolan, author of ACTS OF DESPERATION
Dead Souls is elegant, ambitious, very serious and very funny - an enlivening burst of anti-anti-intellectualism.
Katherine Kilalea, author of OK, MR. FIELD
If as I read Sam Riviere's wonderful first novel I discerned intriguing notes of Rachel Cusk's Outline Trilogy and Thomas Bernhard's propulsive monologues, I also found myself thinking with pleasure of the intricate (and hilarious) book-world satire in Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. Echoes aside, Dead Souls is its own whip smart, razor sharp, wise-funny, highly readable animal and I can't recommend it enthusiastically enough.
Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome