A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
|A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks|
|Category: Literary Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Brilliant state-of-the-nation novel from Sebastian Faulks. I loved it.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2010|
It's Sunday, nine days before Christmas in 2007 and we meet a disparate group of people in London, who are doing what they normally do. There's a hedge fund manager who's trying to pull off the biggest trade of his career. A professional footballer from Poland has just arrived in the country and is disappointed with his small German car, but it will have to do until his large German car arrives. A barrister has far too little work and too much time on his hands. There's the student searching for something in which to believe who's led astray by the more extreme Islamic fundamentalists – and another student who's addicted to drugs and reality television. A devious book reviewer struggles to like anything written after the nineteenth century – and a chutney magnate from Havering-atte-Bower wants to learn how to discuss books with the Queen. Looping all these people together is a Tube driver on the Circle Line.
OK – there are two things you need to know straight off: it's satire and it's a Marmite book. You will love it or you will hate it with room for very little in between. When we live in such dysfunctional times satire is difficult: how over-the-top can you be about bankers who are earning millions but achieving little, or reality television whose stars get funerals which put you in mind of Princess Di? But satire it is, with everything pushed that little bit further to the point where it becomes vicious and biting. I had tears running down my face at the explanation of how a hedge fund works and what happened in the Barking Bungalow in the reality TV programme – and I'm not even going to comment on the book reviewer. Faulks pulls it all off perfectly and it's hilarious.
Above all though, it's social commentary. It's a perfect pen picture of the state of the nation in the first part of the twenty-first century. I hope that it will be a book my grandchildren will turn to when they need an illustration of just how bad things used to be.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
A similarly 'Marmite' book is Burley Cross Postbox Theft by Nicola Barker. I loved that too.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks at Amazon.com.
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