''You said that you would come back. You looked me in the eye and said that. Well, if you had, this is what you would have seen: soft wood, black cracks, fridges in the road. The broken spines of old rides at Dreamland.'
In the coastal resort of Margate, hotels lie empty and sun-faded ‘For Sale’ signs line the streets. The sea is higher – it’s higher everywhere – and those who can are moving inland. A young girl called Chance, however, is just arriving.
Chance’s family is one of many offered a cash grant to move out of London - and so she, her mother Jas and brother JD relocate to the seaside, just as the country edges towards vertiginous change.
In their new home, they find space and wide skies, a world away from the cramped bedsits they’ve lived in up until now. But challenges swiftly mount. JD’s business partner, Kole, has a violent, charismatic energy that whirlpools around him and threatens to draw in the whole family. And when Chance comes across Franky, a girl her age she has never seen before – well-spoken and wearing sunscreen – something catches in the air between them. Their fates are bound: a connection that is immediate, unshakeable, and, in a time when social divides have never cut sharper, dangerous.
Set in a future unsettlingly close to home, against a backdrop of soaring inequality and creeping political extremism, Rankin-Gee demonstrates, with cinematic pace and deep humanity, the enduring power of love and hope in a world spinning out of control.
Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Dreamland
'There’s also the novel’s prose – its liquid grace and glinting sparkle – and the sheer irresistibility of a narrative that sweeps along with a force that feels tidal in its pull.'
Dazzling and shatteringNell Dunn
A writer of a new time . . . A writer we will all want to read again and againMonique Roffey
Entrancing . . . A dark and devastating funhouse ride through curtailed innocence and apocalyptic experience, and a love letter to the waning magic and melancholy of British seaside townsSharlene Teo
A triumph, being as much a love letter to the heady ups and crashing lows of youthful entanglements as it is a paean to the former grandeur of its stark coastal setting. Read this now.
A Beautiful book: thought-provoking, eerily prescient and very witty