Incomer is the second instalment in Paula Gruben’s novoir (novel + memoir) trilogy. It is a direct follow-on from Umbilicus, although both can be read as stand-alone stories. Estimated completion of manuscript: late 2017.
INCOMER | chiefly British | a person who comes to a place to live; immigrant, newcomer
In the summer of ’97, a double murder on Berwick Street rocks the tight-knit community of Soho to its core. Charlotte, a 22-year-old South African and her friends avoid witnessing the fatal stabbings by just a few minutes as they make their way to the Night Bus home, after a night of partying at Madame Jojo’s.
Several weeks later, a would-be shoplifter assaults Charlotte in the Ann Summers store on Wardour Street where she works. Being in such close proximity to the site of the recent killings, bobbies on the beat are out in full force, and her attacker is swiftly arrested and charged.
In England, a transgression of this nature is considered a crime against the Crown, and Charlotte finds herself having to testify as a witness for the prosecution at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court. But when the in-store CCTV footage of the incident is deemed inadmissible, and the mentally unstable accused is let off with no more than a slap on the wrist, he returns to the shop to exact his revenge. As a black Briton, he accuses the white South African of being a “racist apartheid bitch”. Just how far will this sociopath go to avenge his bruised ego?
Below: The author, aged 22, assing about at work. The store had recently undergone a re-fit, and the balloons were for Ann Summers’ 25th anniversary on 26th June 1997. The assault occurred just a few weeks later, on 31st July, exactly where the author is standing.