The Arena of the Unwell
by Konemann, Liam | Fiction & related items
Paperback | 320 pages
Noah spends his nights drifting between North London pubs and music venues, and his days sleeping off hangovers in the stock room of the floundering record shop where he works. He tries not to think about what will happen when his NHS-allocated therapy hours run out and he’s left alone with his mind again. After years away, his favourite band Smiling Politely announce a last-minute set in a nearby venue and everything starts to shift. When the crowd turns violent, Noah runs into the street and meets Dylan, the charming local barman he’s never had the courage to approach.
Pulled into a toxic and co-dependent relationship with Dylan and his brooding, enigmatic friend Fraser, Noah bounces distractedly between sweaty gigs and clubs, swapping beds and friends along the way. The upcoming Smiling Politely album is a beacon of hope for Noah who craves the connection he finds in their music yet lacks elsewhere, but he has to ask himself what he’s willing to lose – friendships, dignity, even his sense of self – to just feel like he belongs.