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- Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 224 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 22mm | 159g
- Publication date: 5 April 2007
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0715636561
- ISBN 13: 9780715636565
- Sales rank: 651,665
At only twenty-five, Jack Lancaster is far too young to be having a mid-life crisis, but he's going to have a pretty good shot at it anyway. On the surface, his is an idyllic situation: highly-paid job in the city, subsidised flat in West London, beautiful girlfriend. But when he dumps Lucy and she sleeps with his best friend, Rick, by way of revenge, Jack's life begins to fall apart. His inept attempts to woo his attractive new colleague, Layla, become increasingly frustrated. His hairline is retreating faster than a brigade of Italian war heroes. His search for a sense of 'purpose' in life remains unfulfilled. Deciding that life is too short to continue putting numbers into Excel boxes, Jack succeeds in getting sacked from work and embarks on a bumbling journey of self-discovery, taking in the House of Commons, the Inca Trail and a small prep school in Berkshire. This is a novel for disillusioned twentysomethings everywhere.
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Iain Hollingshead is 25 years old. He has a weekly column in the Guardian and writes features for the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times. He lives in London.
"'Excellent... a very entertaining romp' - Evening Standard 'There is something undeniably compulsive about the book... an impressive and amusing debut' - City AM 'An enjoyable read... Bridget Jones for young men, or Adrian Mole for the Naughty Noughties' - New Statesman 'Funny, rude and entertaining... will strike a chord with anyone who is, was, or will be a twentysomething' Danny Wallace 'Wonderful... Hollingshead writes with the cynicism of many clever young men, but the passion of very few' Matthew Parris"
The career and erotic adventures of an impertinent young Londoner who might as well be Bridget Jones's evil twin brother.Structured as a diary, Hollingshead's fizzy first novel recounts a year in the callow life of (outrageously overpaid) investment bank wunderkind Jack Lancaster, after he has suffered the slings and arrows of his girlfriend Lucy's maddening mood swings and moved on to pastures new, and increased frustrations. "My job stinks, my girlfriend hates me and I'm a pessimistic, ungrateful sod," Jack confides to his unemployable friend, Flatmate Fred (a nicely sketched character who rather resembles the saturnine best buddy Bill Murray played in the film Tootsie). Jack's "soulless, humorless" boss, Mr. Cox, harasses and annoys him, gorgeous coworker Leila stirs him to unprecedented heights of sexual fantasy and drunken pranks undertaken with male friends take the edge off Jack's unhappiness-until (almost two-thirds into the novel) sardonic noodling gives way to something actually resembling a plot. Lucy's pregnancy complicates his life in unexpected ways. Finally managing to detach himself from the job he despises, Jack embarks on a therapeutic South American trip (which, true to this novel's skimpy narrative content, is described only in impudent e-mail messages sent back to fellow Londoners). Then a grievous personal loss awakens the party boy to the facts of his mortality and his shallowness ("I am an unworthy piece of inconsequential matter"), and he becomes, God help us, a better man. Leila proves not entirely unattainable, and the novel ends on a surprisingly happy New Year's Eve. The change of heart is totally, fatally unconvincing. At his worst (and hence best), Jack is an opinionated snot with a ready wit. Hearing him fulminate constitutes the only good reason for staying the course of this feisty, funny, but really rather unsatisfying story.Hollingshead has the chops, but doesn't seem to have much of a repertoire. Maybe next time. (Kirkus Reviews)