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A Week in December [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Sebastian Faulks , Dan Stevens
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 14.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Sep 2009
A Week in December is Sebastian Faulks's first wholly contemporary novel. Set in London, it's a brilliant social satire, structured like a thriller, that takes place over the course of a single week at the end of 2007. It brings together an intriguing cast of characters, each apparently in his or her own world but - as gradually becomes clear - ultimately intricately related. The anti-hero, John Veals, is a shadily successful and boundlessly ambitious Dickensian figure who is trading billions and other characters include a teenage Muslim fanatic, a Polish footballer, a female tube driver, a literary critic, a care worker and a chutney tycoon. As the story builds to its climax, Faulks pulls together powerful ideas about family, money, religion, and the way we live now.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Audiobooks (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846571987
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846571985
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (300 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 638,793 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

"The plot wonderfully connects all these characters, taking them on a journey that leaves the listener with no idea whether they are to be dealt a tragic or happy hand until the very end." (Kati Nicholl Daily Express)

"There are moments ... that truly hit home...this book is an old-fashioned call to retrace our path, return to a more connected existence." (Independent on sunday)

"Skilfully abridged by Kati Nicholl, it is given enriched characterisation by the narrator Dan Stevens" (The Times)

Book Description

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, engaging and rewarding 7 Jun 2011
By Waldo
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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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love, Actually...in literary 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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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tough going 17 Dec 2009
By Jl Adcock VINE VOICE
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak in December? 11 Nov 2010
By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Very few people can claim to have written one of the defining novels of the last fifty years. Fewer still can claim to have written two, so it is not surprising that 'A Week in December' is not in the same league as 'Birdsong. Whilst this novel is not without its flaws, it is not quite the car crash that many here have described.

Our book group choice for November (Why not December...?) , 'AWID' generated a lively discussion, and not all about the novel's problems. This is usually a sign of a half-way decent novel. It is similar (though in my opinion, inferior) to two other novels we read earlier in the year. Hearts and Minds and The Kilburn Social Club are both London novels, that to a greater or lesser degree cover the same ground as 'AWID', and I can whole-heartedly recommend both.

'AWID' opens promisingly, with an omniscient view of a throbbing city, before sweeping through the lives of the novel's main characters. A young barrister, a female tube driver, a bitter literary critic, a rich socialite, a city trader, a Muslim pickle magnate and his son, are the main players in a novel that is made of a varied, if two-dimensional cast.

At first, the variety of characters makes the novel interesting, but after 100 pages, it loses direction. Reading the middle third of the book is like wading through treacle. I felt sure that somebody was adding extra pages to my book - I'd read and read, but never seemed to be any closer to the end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply outstanding
I've just finished this book and haven't been able to put it down for the last few days. The various story lines are brilliant in their own respects but interweave them and you've... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
The book was very informative regarding the finance section, the religious aspect and of course excellently written. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jean McAuliffe
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters
This book was disappointing:

1. There are far too many characters, and on top of this even some of the most peripheral characters have back stories. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Fiona Turner
2.0 out of 5 stars Very hard going
I was disappointed and am struggling to finish this book. It is slow, tedious and waffly to be honest. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mandyfab
1.0 out of 5 stars so disappointing
this is one of the worst books I have ever read. please don't waste your time. it is tedious and irritating, no depth to any of the characters. total waste of money. Read more
Published 3 months ago by samken
4.0 out of 5 stars worth the effort
Enjoyable build up but a lacklustre conclusion. Definitely worth reading. Not his best but some interesting characters nicely interwoven. Nice
Published 4 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading.
A grim, insightful story, told with an ironic voice that will make you smile through your discomfort at the truths he tells..
Published 4 months ago by jr
1.0 out of 5 stars Ultimately Pointless
Let's see; we have a ruthless hedge-fund manager, a Polish soccer player, a book reviewer, a mango chutney magnate, a lawyer, an Islamic militant and a London subway train driver. Read more
Published 4 months ago by C. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Why no fuss?
Really enjoyed this book on all levels, and am surprised I hadn't heard anything about it. The characters all ring true, and reflect the world we live in.
Published 5 months ago by santacruzgirl
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing: Faulks is capable of much better than this
I read and very much admired Birdsong some time ago, and had intended ever since to read more of Faulks's work. Unfortunately I didn't think that this book was remotely as good. Read more
Published 5 months ago by James
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