- Publisher: Hutchinson
- Format: Hardback | 400 pages
- Dimensions: 159mm x 241mm x 32mm | 708g
- Publication date: 4 October 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0091794455
- ISBN 13: 9780091794453
- Sales rank: 85,914
London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days, we follow the lives of seven major characters: a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamist theory; a hack book-reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on skunk and reality TV; and, a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop. With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life. Greed, the dehumanising effects of the electronic age and the fragmentation of society are some of the themes dealt with in this savagely humorous book. The writing on the wall appears in letters ten feet high, but the characters refuse to see it - and party on as though tomorrow is a dream. Sebastian Faulks probes not only the self-deceptions of this intensely realised group of people, but their hopes and loves as well. As the novel moves to its gripping climax, they are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit.
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Sebastian Faulks was born and brought up in Newbury, Berkshire. He worked in journalism before starting to write books. He is best known for the French trilogy, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray (1989-1997) and is also the author of a triple biography, The Fatal Englishman (1996); a small book of literary parodies, Pistache (2006); and the novels Human Traces (2005) and Engleby (2007). He lives in London with his wife and their three children.
By David Wilcox 04 Feb 2011
I found difficulty holding my interest in this book mainly due to the series of uninteresting characters and way too much information on the finer details of the financial sector. Neither make for a good read and the book just seemed to drag on towards it's inevitable climax. Apparently a lot of it is supposed to be ironic so maybe I just missed the point.
"This vast novel, well-plotted and gripping throughout, is the first that Sebastian Faulks has set in our time... the ambition and scope of the book are to be applauded. The conclusion is suitably nail-biting and, pleasingly, love triumphs. Sebastian Faulks has probably got another best-seller on his hands." --"Spectator""A portrayal of modern London that is both richly entertaining and highly rewarding. Faulks has come as close as anyone to completing the jigsaw that is this crazy, fascinating city of ours." --"Evening Standard"