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Set against the backdrop of the new millennium, a seductive summer read about obsession, sex, friendship and music from an exciting new talent.

A smart, swaggering love letter to smart, swaggering youth, told in a voice that’s racing hot, icy cool and always on the verge of losing its composure.’ Ronnie Scott

Strap in and let an unforgettable story of sex, drugs and electroclash rush past you like the wet neon blur beyond the windows of a speeding Trans Am.’ Clare Fletcher

It’s the turn of the new millennium, and the bright young things are partying like it’s the end of the world. Dark glamour and debauched music reign, gigs culminating with everyone on stage – or undressed. Lucy, editor of a music magazine, is at the blazing neon centre, ecstatically seeking oblivion. But as her life (featuring a stalker, a not-quite ex-husband, and an affair with a cold, charismatic musician) veers from complicated to chaotic, she burns it all down, decamping to the remote seaside town of her childhood ­– to start again.

In Abergele, Lucy recreates her old existence in hothouse miniature. Past friends and compulsions reappear, along with new fascinations. One of them is Robin, photographer and lonely son of a famous producer. Recognising in each other a fellow exile and a rich source of distraction, they fall into step on daily rambles across the cliffs. Their charged conversations about music and philosophy function as both high-stakes flirtation and a stealth mechanism for understanding themselves, resulting in an intense bond that disarms them both.

Compulsion is a razor-sharp debut about the transcendence of new highs, the allure of new lows, and the relentless power of our obsessions. Music, sex, food, drugs, fashion and nature coalesce to overwhelm the senses on every page.

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ISBN: 9781761046551
Hamish Hamilton
Publication date:
10 January 2023
Trade Paperback
Pages: 288