In a decision that has rocked the literary world, Southeastern rail’s experimental ‘Trial by Heat’, a contentious ‘novel’ extracted entirely from the company’s Twitter feed – has been longlisted for the Man Booker prize. ‘It is at times hilarious, angry, baffling and thought-provoking,’ said one of the judges. ‘Alhough some of the characters – ‘customers’ in the novel’s parlance – are mere one-dimensional caricatures, the plots and twists are exquisite’.
The judges praised the novel’s centrepiece chapter (customers subjected to non-air conditioned, packed carriages, at temperatures exceeding 31 degrees) as being ‘Hardyesque in its cruelty’. ‘Trial by Heat’ is the second in a series, following ‘Trial by Snow’, a horror-thriller that was published in March. That novel’s ending gripped readers as customers jumped from carriages onto the tracks, risking death to escape a stranded train. ‘Trial by Leaves’ is due to conclude the trilogy in October.