Verso Books has acquired a "masterly portrait of an anxious nation" under Brexit, called Dreams of Leaving and Remaining, by James Meek.
Leo Hollis, senior editor at Verso, bought world English rights from Natasha Fairweather at Rogers, Coleridge and White. Hollis described Dreams of Leaving and Remaining as "a brilliant and timely dissection of the ancient, primal myths, deeper histories and political folk-legends that we tell ourselves to make sense of the present moment.” It will be published in March 2019 as the UK prepares to leave the EU.
Since the referendum in 2016, the nation has been split into two; one half dreaming of leaving, the other of remaining, the synopsis reads. During this period, Meek went in search of the stories and consequences of this rupture. He discusses the desire to leave with farmers and fishermen, despite the loss of protections and fears of the future that this might bring. He reports as a Cadbury’s factory is shut down and moved to Poland, in the name of free market economics, and how it impacts on the local community left behind. He charts how the NHS is coping with the twin burdens of austerity and an aging population.
"Dreams of Leaving and Remaining is urgent reporting from the frontline of the crisis from one of our finest journalists,” the publisher said. "Meek asks what we recover from the debris of an old nation as we head towards new horizons, and what we must leave behind. He does not find any easy answers that will satisfy Brexiteers or Remainers, but instead paints a masterly portrait of an anxious nation."
Meek’s last book with Verso, Private Island won the 2015 Orwell Prize. He is a London-based author and journalist.