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A Week in December Paperback – 2 Sep 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099458284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099458289
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sebastian Faulks was born in April 1953. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1991, he worked as a journalist. His French trilogy - The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray (1989-1997) - established him in the front rank of British novelists. UK sales of Birdsong exceed 2,500,000 copies, and for this novel he was named "Author of the Year" by the British Book Awards in 1995. It is regularly voted one of the nation's favourite books. Charlotte Gray has also sold over a million copies and was filmed with Cate Blanchett in the main part.

Product Description

Review

"Richly entertaining and highly rewarding" (Evening Standard)

"During times of momentous change, men of letters are driven to produce works that fictionalise the state of the nation, linking individuals with historic events. The 19th century gave us Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Dickens's Our Mutual Friend and Trollope's The Way We Live Now; the 21st has given us Sebastian Faulks's A Week in December" (Sunday Times)

"Often edgily satirical, sometimes deeply affecting, A Week in December grasps its headline motifs with the strong and supple hands of a master" (Independent)

"Hilarious... The satire is so vicious that at times it's like reading a Tom Sharpe novel" (Daily Telegraph)

"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)

Book Description

Powerful contemporary novel set in London from a master of literary fiction.

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Customer Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Waldo on 7 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
I really must disagree with the negative reviews on here. Quite simply, this is one of my favourite books. I was engaged by all of the story lines and characters and found that the pacing and structure of the novel was such that I never got bored of any of them.

Some people have complained about the detailed descriptions of intricate financial dealings. However, I felt these were necessary to illustrate just how devilishly clever were the machinations. Did I understand all the ins and outs? No, but Faulks ensured that I understood enough to follow the story, whilst giving me a real sense of what goes on within the gleaming office blocks of London's financial district.

I, for one, found all of the character's story's to be perfectly plausible and illuminating, and could certainly relate to the modern disassociation from the real world that seems to be one of Faulks' central themes. I also loved the insights that the author has one of his characters propose about the role of books as the only medium that actually aims to explain the world and the people within it, rather than simply offering just another escape from reality.

To sum up, the book was very entertaining - a real suspense is built up in the second half of the novel - as well as being richly rewarding. Not only that, but the whole thing is told in a prose style that is wonderfully and refreshingly free of "creative writing group" pretension.
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59 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Secret Spi on 15 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback
The idea behind "A Week in December" is similar to that of the Richard Curtis film of a few years back. We follow various of London's inhabitants in the week before Christmas and discover their interconnectedness. And, at the end, love is the answer - parental love, romantic love and love of money, status and power.

It's an ambitious idea but, as a whole, it didn't work for me. In the first few pages of the book, the reader is exposed to a "bullet -point" list of about 30 characters (rather like a particularly dreary Powerpoint presentation), many of whom play no significant part in the following four hundred-odd pages. This "data dump" is followed up by (to my mind) tedious lectures about high finance in unnecessary detail. The funniest sections of the book concerned the literary critic, but I felt there were far too many in-jokes about the literary establishment for this to be effective. The parts intended as satire - concerning the reality TV show and the online parallel universe game fell flat for me, partly because these already seemed dated - the parody is of "Second Life" rather than today's ubiquitous Facebook. Many of the characters seemed to merge into one stereotype - I had difficulty in particular with distinguishing most of the women from one another.

The character that I found of most interest was the would-be suicide bomber Hassan - his story of all, was well-told. His parents were also drawn with warmth and humour. There were one or two other minor characters who were of interest, or added a light touch - such as Roger - and I felt I would have liked to have seen more from these people's lives rather than yet more information on hedge funds.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Garvey on 25 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover
Sebastian Faulks is a fine novelist, and I very much looked forward to this book. But something has gone horribly wrong with "A week in December" and I almost do not know know where to begin in listing my frustrations. Before I start a mini rant, I should say this is the frustration of knowing he could have written a much better novel. But here, you wonder what happened to structure, character and plot ? And by the way, where was the editor ?

Probably the basic problem is structural, with the novel following ( as the title indicates ) various characters through a single week in London. The premise is that a dinner party will be held at the end of the week, bringing together a rather disparate and unappealing cross section of modern society (circa 2007). There are quite a few characters to be packed around that dinner table, and approximately the first two hundred pages give us the back story of each. In those .... very long... two hundred pages, pretty much nothing actually happens while the history of each is given in a measured but uninvolving manner. Things do finally pick up towards the end, but the rhythm of the piece has been lost long before.

The main characters are almost completely independent of one another and have virtually no connection or interaction , save when they are finally brought together for the somewhat implausible party at the end. Perhaps they were intended as a kaleidoscopic reflection of some modern types, but they seem cardboard cut outs existing in separate worlds.

A grinding problem was that none of the characters had much in the way of credibility, and instead came across as thinly scetched caricatures. The author clearly cares nothing about them , so why should we ?
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49 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Jl Adcock TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Dec 2009
Format: Hardcover
Surprisingly, Faulks has written a bad novel with "A Week in December". Usually, he engages us with characters you actually want to know about, and develop some concern for; but not this time. Weaving together stories from several unlikeable characters, this sprawling book reminded me of "Mother London" by Michael Moorcock, in its shape and ambition, and it just didn't read like a Sebastian Faulks novel should.

Perhaps a spell "writing as Ian Fleming" has had a lasting impact on Faulks. It struck me here at times that although he'd done lots of research into the world of finance and dodgy deals, he's written about it in a way that didn't feel entirely authentic, and if anything he's made the topic of finance even more dreary. Fleming could sometimes be accused of the same - research into subjects that didn't always translate well in the Bond novels. So, perhaps there are dangers in writing as someone else!

Disappointingly, this latest offering from Sebastian Faulks is a bit of mess, hard going in places, and although wide-ranging in showing the author's knowledge on several different contemporary topics, it all feels a bit laboured and smug.
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