Sam Thompson is the author of two novels, the Booker-longlisted Communion Town (2012) and, most recently, Jott (2018). Jott depicts a friendship between two men finding their places in the world, in the socially conservative Britain of the 1930s. One of them is a psychiatrist with his own deep anxieties; the other is a writer of highly stylised Modernist fiction.
What is Jott, exactly? It’s the title of the new novel by Sam Thompson, of course, but it’s also the title of a novel within the novel and an all-purpose allusion to the spirit of “the Beckettian”: the double consonants at the end of the word call to mind some of Samuel Beckett’s best-known characters — Hamm, Krapp — and the whole word is an echo of the names of both Watt, from Watt (1953), and his demanding employer Mr. Knott. Open the novel and you’ll find Beckett there between the covers, too.