Main content
Sorry, this episode is not currently available

The Radio 2 Book Club with Chris Beckett, Shoe polish confession, Christmas markets

Chris Beckett joins Simon for the Radio 2 Book Club to discuss his latest novel, America City. We'll also hear from three of our listeners who have reviewed the book.

Simon welcomes author Chris Beckett to the Radio 2 Book Club to talk about his latest novel, America City.

Chris is a former social worker, social work manager, and social work lecturer. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and three adult children. Although he always wanted to be a writer, he did not deliberately set out to be a science fiction writer in particular. His stories are usually about his own life, things that he sees happening around him and things he struggles to make sense of. Up to now, they have always ended up being science fiction.

Chris likes the freedom it gives him to invent things and play with ideas. His latest novel is set in the United States a century in the future. As a result of climate change, powerful hurricanes hit the east coast every year, each time a little further north. And large areas of the southern half of the US have insufficient water, meaning that many towns and cities, and whole swathes of farmland, are no longer viable. Each year a steady stream of refugees from southern states heads north, but they meet an increasingly frosty welcome, and some northern states are threatening frontier controls to keep them out.

Holly Peacock, a bright young British PR professional who has settled in the US, begins to work for a charismatic US senator called Stephen Slaymaker, who rose from poverty via army service in Africa, to build up one of America's largest trucking businesses. Slaymaker is campaigning for a huge government-funded programme to shift the American population northwards, and so prevent the north-south divide from tearing America apart. When Slaymaker stands for President, this Reconfigure America programme is at the core of his platform and Holly's job is to win support for it.

But how to sell the idea to northern voters that they should welcome in millions of refugees from the south, and pay for it too in their taxes? Working closely with Slaymaker, Holly finds a way, but it involves fighting dirty and has catastrophic consequences which she didn't anticipate at all.

We'll hear from three listeners who have reviewed the book and also feature our Book Club of the Week. Plus, Matt Williams will have the latest sport and Bobbie Pryor will bring us the travel.

1 hour, 55 minutes

Music Played

Add music you love and enjoy it with My Tracks
  • Manic Street Preachers

    A Design For Life

    • Everything Must Go - 20th Anniversary Edition.
    • Columbia.
    • 16.
  • Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie

    Lay Down For Free

    • (CD Single).
    • EastWest.
  • INXS

    Suicide Blonde

    • Now 18 (Various Artists).
    • Now.
  • Bruno Mars

    Locked Out Of Heaven

    • (CD Single).
    • Atlantic.
    • 1.
  • Princess

    Say I'm Your Number One

    • Hit Factory: Pete Waterman's... (Var).
    • Universal Music Tv.
  • P!nk

    Beautiful Trauma

    • (CD Single).
    • RCA.
  • Scott McKenzie

    San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)

    • Fifty Number Ones Of The 60's (Variou.
    • Global Television.
  • Kansas

    Carry On Wayward Son

    • American Dreams II (Various Artists).
    • Solitaire Collection.
    • 3.
  • Paloma Faith

    Guilty

    • (CD Single).
    • RCA.
  • The Beatles

    Penny Lane

    • The Beatles - 1.
    • Apple.
    • 017.
  • Rag’n’Bone Man

    Grace (We All Try)

    • (CD Single).
    • Columbia.
  • Visage

    Fade To Grey

    • Heart Full Of Soul (Various Artists).
    • Knight Records.
  • Nomad

    I Wanna Give You Devotion

    • Pump Up The Volume (Various Artists).
    • Universal.
  • Sam Smith

    One Last Song

    • The Thrill Of It All.
    • Capitol.
  • Irma Thomas

    Don't Mess With My Man

    • Ruler Of My Heart.
    • HMV Digital.
    • 2.

Broadcast

Jo and Simon's New Show!

Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo present a fantastic new show from 5pm every weekday.