From a review by Nat Segnit in the New Yorker (8 September 2016)
Toward the end of the novel, the nineteenth-century “peasant poet” John Clare sits on the steps of All Saints’ Church, on George Row, alongside a motley crew: the seventeenth-century writer John Bunyan; Samuel Beckett; Johnny and Celia Vernall, an ordinary twentieth-century couple based on real-life relatives of Moore’s; and Kaph, a refugee worker who died in 2060. Moore leaves it open as to whether Clare—who for a period believed himself to be Lord Byron, and spent the final twenty-two years of his life in Northampton General Lunatic Asylum—is hallucinating, or if these anachronistic figures might be coeval in another dimension. Clare and Bunyan discuss their literary longevity. The Vernalls wonder where they might go for a pee.