Serious Sweet

Serious Sweet

2.94 (504 ratings by Goodreads)
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A Sunday Times Book of the Year

A good man in a bad world, Jon Sigurdsson is 59 and divorced: a senior civil servant in Westminster who hates many of his colleagues and loathes his work for a government engaged in unmentionable acts. A man of conscience.

Meg Williams is `a bankrupt accountant - two words you don't want in the same sentence, or anywhere near your CV'. She's 45 and shakily sober, living on Telegraph Hill, where she can see London unfurl below her. Somewhere out there is safety.

Somewhere out there is Jon, pinballing around the city with a mobile phone and a letter-writing habit he can't break. He's a man on the brink, leaking government secrets and affection as he runs for his life.

Set in 2014, this is a novel of our times. Poignant, deeply funny, and beautifully written, Serious Sweet is about two decent, damaged people trying to make moral choices in an immoral world: ready to sacrifice what's left of themselves for honesty, and for a chance at tenderness. As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London - passing through 24 hours that will change them both for ever - they tell a very unusual, unbearably moving love story.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 528 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 44mm | 856g
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0224098446
  • 9780224098441
  • 92,306

Review Text

"So beautiful that it makes your head hurt."
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Review quote

"Kennedy tenderly anatomised London and loneliness in Serious Sweet." -- Ali Smith * Guardian, Book of the Year * "So beautiful that it makes your head hurt." -- Katy Guest * Independent * "Serious Sweet is a magnificent novel, showing Kennedy at the very top of her game. Ambitious in scope, daring in execution, full of dazzling apercus and dark comedy... It is a tale of redemption, as serious and as sweet as you could wish for." -- Rebecca Abrams * Financial Times * "In equal measures, funny, sad and addictive... The opening pages had me holding my breath in fear and anticipation... Capturing the relentless hustle of London life to perfection." -- Glenda Marchant * Stylist * "A. L. Kennedy shakes her city until the right atoms collide. She stands back to give a picture of the whole of London on one day, and then suddenly swoops down to pick up a tiny detail." -- Kate Saunders * The Times * "Deeply affecting... Kennedy strips her characters emotionally bare... Serious Sweet portrays intense lives of quiet desperation: it is a novel about hope and muted courage and, at the end of the day, a very tentatively experienced optimism." -- Hannah Beckerman * Observer * "A. L. Kennedy's eighth novel is a profoundly moving, often funny, and at points rending depiction of two good people. Serious Sweet is about the heroism of decency; albeit damaged decency... Kennedy is not one of our finest writers simply because of the quality of her prose: she is because of the moral profundity of her work." -- Stuart Kelly * Scotsman * "This is a bold, cinematic novel... Parts of it are terrifically funny." * Herald * "A genuinely stirring love story." * Mail on Sunday * "Her flair for describing feelings and relationships makes this an engaging window into the messy minds of Londoners and her commentary on the city rings true." -- Susannah Butter * Evening Standard * "Determinedly and impressively intellectual... A novel of ideas that is deft enough never to be didactic because it asks more question than it answers." -- Lara Feigel * Guardian * "This is an author with a proven ability to see - truly see - and whose prose can fire like gunshots across the page." -- Rebecca Swirsky * New Statesman * "[Like] Sleepless in Seattle, respun by James Joyce, and set within a London on the precipice of Brexit." * Culture Trip * "Her best book in years." -- Justine Jordan * Guardian * "Uniquely moving love story." -- Jess Denham * Independent *
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About A. L. Kennedy

A. L. Kennedy has twice been selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards - including the Costa Book of the Year for her novel Day. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Warwick University.
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Rating details

504 ratings
2.94 out of 5 stars
5 12% (59)
4 23% (116)
3 29% (146)
2 20% (103)
1 16% (80)
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