2020

A Novel

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About The Book

“Imagines a chillingly plausible near future in which a terrorist attack . . . sparks a radical white nationalist backlash. . . . This complex picture of a fraught political future will leave readers unsettled by its terrifying plausibility."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

In the tradition of 1984 and It Can't Happen Here, 2020 is a timely dystopian novel about a country divided, a terrorist attack, and an populist leader who promises he alone is the solution.
In 2020, Britain is at a breaking point. Years of economic turmoil, bitter debates over immigration, anger at the political elites, and fears about the future have created a maelstrom, a dis-United Kingdom, with citizens tempted to find easy answers in demagoguery and isolationism. The country is a bomb waiting to explode. Then it does.
A major terrorist attack targets a sleeper train traveling between Edinburgh and London, leaving a staggering number of dead and wounded. Investigators soon identify the culprits as a radicalized group of young British Muslims. Horrific images from the attack and speculation by the media fan worries about further terrorist acts and the danger of an enemy within. In the aftermath, two far right organizations join to create a new radical group called White Rose, promising to stand up for English values. An unproven leader vows thathe can fix the nation. As the nightmare unfolds, a myriad of voices—from across the social and political spectrum—offer wildly differing perspectives on the chaotic events . . . and unexpectedly reveal modern Britain’s soul with 20/20 acuity.
Thoughtful, compassionate, and provocative, Kenneth Steven’s 2020 is a parable for our times.

About The Author

Kenneth Steven is a poet, novelist, children's book author, and translator whose work has appeared in sixteen languages. He is the translator of the Nordic Prize–winning novel The Half Brother, by Lars Saabye Christensen, also published by Arcade. His BBC Radio 4 documentary on the island of St Kilda won him a Sony Award. He lives on the Isle of Seil, Argyll, Scotland.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Arcade (August 2018)
  • Length: 152 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781628728811

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Raves and Reviews

“Imagines a chillingly plausible near future in which a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom sparks a radical white nationalist backlash. . . . This complex picture of a fraught political future will leave readers unsettled by its terrifying plausibility."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Impressive . . . This novel is so realistic that it is reminiscent of Orson Welles’ classic The War of the Worlds fictional radio broadcast, which many listeners believed. . . . 2020 offers a short, sharp reminder of how delicately balanced many modern societies actually are.”—Booklist

"Kenneth Steven’s dystopian novel 2020 is as tightly compressed and explosive as a block of Semtex. By focusing on a small group of interrelated characters in and around a Northern English town in the near future, 2020 explores an all-too possible scenario in which race, religion, politics, and opportunism lead to a seemingly unstoppable cycle of violence and heartbreak."—Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer- and Tony Award–winning writer of Building the Wall

"2020 could not be more appropriate and necessary. An honest and at times horrific view of the state of the nation, but run through with humanity and ultimately hope . . . Kenneth Steven has written a parable for our times, and one which we would do well to take note of."—Scots Whay Hae

"An important book that should be read by everyone. . . . A gripping and compelling narrative."—Undiscovered Scotland

"2020 is a compelling and difficult study of the darkness and pain of societies in conflict. Disconnection and misunderstanding feed the narrative, and leave the reader with no choice but to keep reading more.”—Eric Barnes, author of The City Where We Once Lived

"Steven's first novel robustly and sensitively explores the debilitating consequences of abuse, violence and the lack of love. It promises even greater things to follow."—Scotland on Sunday

"Some of the things Steven imagines are chillingly plausible, not to say prescient."—Scotsman "All too credible…Exerts the unsettling fascination of events that could easily come to pass."—The Herald

"Artfully constructed . . . The tension is perfectly pitched.—The List

A poetic voice of great sensitivity."—Alexandaer McCall Smith

"Kenneth has a rare gift of being able to transmute the mundane into the mesmerizing, in a kind of poetic alchemy."—Countryman

“Imagines a chillingly plausible near future in which a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom sparks a radical white nationalist backlash. . . . This complex picture of a fraught political future will leave readers unsettled by its terrifying plausibility."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Impressive . . . This novel is so realistic that it is reminiscent of Orson Welles’ classic The War of the Worlds fictional radio broadcast, which many listeners believed. . . . 2020 offers a short, sharp reminder of how delicately balanced many modern societies actually are.”—Booklist

"Kenneth Steven’s dystopian novel 2020 is as tightly compressed and explosive as a block of Semtex. By focusing on a small group of interrelated characters in and around a Northern English town in the near future, 2020 explores an all-too possible scenario in which race, religion, politics, and opportunism lead to a seemingly unstoppable cycle of violence and heartbreak."—Robert Schenkkan, Pulitzer- and Tony Award–winning writer of Building the Wall

"2020 could not be more appropriate and necessary. An honest and at times horrific view of the state of the nation, but run through with humanity and ultimately hope . . . Kenneth Steven has written a parable for our times, and one which we would do well to take note of."—Scots Whay Hae

"An important book that should be read by everyone. . . . A gripping and compelling narrative."—Undiscovered Scotland

"2020 is a compelling and difficult study of the darkness and pain of societies in conflict. Disconnection and misunderstanding feed the narrative, and leave the reader with no choice but to keep reading more.”—Eric Barnes, author of The City Where We Once Lived

"Steven's first novel robustly and sensitively explores the debilitating consequences of abuse, violence and the lack of love. It promises even greater things to follow."—Scotland on Sunday

"Some of the things Steven imagines are chillingly plausible, not to say prescient."—Scotsman "All too credible…Exerts the unsettling fascination of events that could easily come to pass."—The Herald

"Artfully constructed . . . The tension is perfectly pitched.—The List

A poetic voice of great sensitivity."—Alexandaer McCall Smith

"Kenneth has a rare gift of being able to transmute the mundane into the mesmerizing, in a kind of poetic alchemy."—Countryman

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