In the Absence of Absalon revolves around an unnamed investigator, a set of keys and a townhouse. He is investigating a series of disappearances: of his colleague, Marguerite; of Harold Absalon, the Mayor's transport advisor, whose disappearance Marguerite had been investigating prior to his own disappearance; of Richard Knox, the owner of the townhouse, who had fallen out with Absalon before disappearing; and of Absalon's wife Isobel, who is glimpsed, partially undressed, in an upper storey bedroom as the investigator approaches. Pursued from all sides and seemingly losing his mind, what the investigator discovers, as he enters the house, is both familiar and utterly devastating.
Okotie has here further refined not only his comic creation, but also his unique narrative style - the hyper-punctilious - to mesmeric, Zenoesque effect -- David Rose
Okotie's labyrinthine syntax and meandering thought loops bring to mind the works of David Foster Wallace and Nicholson Baker; but the clearest nod is to Samuel Beckett's Watt. Delightfully eccentric ... brilliantly funny. -- Houman Barekat * The Spectator * Nicholas Lezard's Choice This is literature as insanity, the mind stuck in an endless loop - focused, it would appear, too closely on the job at hand. The detective story as existential crisis took form with Beckett's Molloy more than 60 years ago; and the concept of the novel as crazed digression was first incarnated in Tristram Shandy, over 250 years ago. Okotie is in very good company - and has also set himself a high bar. He succeeds. Superbly. -- Nicholas Lezard * The Guardian *
Simon Okotie was born to Nigerian/English parents. His autobiographical first novel about growing up in rural Norfolk was a runner-up for the 1998 Saga Prize for black British fiction. He has a First Class engineering degree and Master's degrees in Philosophy and Transport Planning. He lives in London.