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Engleby [Kindle Edition]

Sebastian Faulks
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)

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Product Description


" One of the most impressive novelists of his generation." - "Sunday Telegraph" " The best novelist of his generation." - "Scotsman" " Faulks is beyond doubt a master." - "Financial Times"

Allan Massie, Scotsman

'Evidence of Faulks's remarkable empathy and mastery of the
novelist's art... Compelling, disturbing and significant... A remarkable

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 552 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307387887
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (31 Jan 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031RS434
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,387 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
232 of 245 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book of 2007 so far..... 20 May 2007
This book is phenomenal; it has shot into my top ten books of all time. It takes a lot to make it into this esteemed list and Faulks has certainly delivered a lot here. He is truly a master and this change from his usual style is brilliant. He has moved away from the historical novel to a relatively contemporary setting. The story touches on the themes of education, class, politics, and psychosis. The narrator is Engleby, an undergraduate at Cambridge in the 70's. He is a strange character, a loner and outsider, very much on the fringes of life. He is not particularly pleasant but he is engaging, intelligent and funny. However, there is always something missing from his accounts of his life and the reader can never be sure if they are missing some details. Most of the book takes place inside his mind and since he has `selective memory' he is always one step ahead of the reader. This isn't a book in which a great deal happens but the beauty is in the subtlety.

Faulks' writing style is very lucid and he uses language sparingly; with his books you get none of the 'misty' effect I've noticed in many new books lately where the actual story seems to be lost underneath a mass of unnecessary verbosity. He is perceptive and insightful with a dry sense of humour. His ruminations on the pointlessness of studying English are very, very funny. Faulks is not afraid to offend and that is a refreshing quality in this day and age.

I read this book very quickly as I found myself literally unable to put it down. If you are a Faulks fan this is a must read for you. If you are new to him, Engleby is a great introduction (although don't expect his other works to be similar - they're not.) Every time I open a book I hope that this will be the one that gets me really inspired and keeps me up all night reading; this was the one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faulks' Best Novel Yet! 14 Mar 2009
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Without a doubt, this is my favourite Sebastian Faulks novel to date. Faulks is an author who doesn't stick to a formula - his topics and styles differ considerably between books, not always entirely successfully. But here he's definitely hit on a winner.

Engleby is narrated by the title character, a highly intelligent loner who leaves behind working class roots to win a place at Cambridge University, but struggles to fit in with society. The character is complex and fascinating, and I found him compellingly believable. I found I could pity and empathise with him whilst at the same time not particularly liking him and actually finding him quite creepy.

The narrative is sparkling and moves on at a good pace, and is really very funny in a lot of places. I'm not normally a fan of dark humour, but this is written so well I found myself laughing out loud at times. This is combined with really chilling moments that send a shiver down the spine. The skillful mixing of these elements makes it a really special book.

I do have a few minor criticisms. The story loses pace at the very end and becomes a bit tedious (you get the feeling Faulks is trying to get more mileage out of the research he did for 'Human Traces'). Also the refusal to name the university Engleby attends seems ridiculous when it is blatantly Cambridge. But these don't really detract from a great novel.

This is certainly the best book I've read this year (though it is only March) and one I always looked forward to reading the next chapter of.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A character who sucks you in 13 Jan 2008
It's a real relief when a novelist is brave enough to present readers with a character who isn't begging to be liked and Faulks has done that with Engleby; in fact he's done much more.

As you make your way through this novel Mike Engleby changes not only the name by which he is known but seemingly also his character. As he reveals parts of his life you can't help feeling more and more sympathy for him as he appears to gain more depth. However, all this leaves you stranded at the novel's denouement which, as other reviewers point out, you can see coming from quite a long way off. Finally you get to see him as others in the novel do and you feel foolish for having fallen for his slight charm and resourcefulness.

Although spanning several decades, Engleby's reach is actaully quite short with all personnel and events seemingly drawn irresistably into Mike's troubled mind.

This is a clever, quite disturbing, tidy novel that is devastatingly unsentimental.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXPERIENCE A WARPED SENSE OF REALITY 13 Feb 2009
By the end of this book, I found myself questioning whether any of Engleby's life story was true, or whether his memoirs were made up entirely of a combination of warped recollections, bendings of the truth and outright lies.

A great story; you'll find yourself playing out alternative explanations for hours!
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, powerful novel 28 Mar 2008
A convincing portrayal of a loner, a troubled character, Mike Engleby, this is a gripping read that draws you back until it is finished. I was intrigued how this would progress and how his life would play out after the occurences we hear about from his school and college years. The novel tells Engleby's story as seen through his eyes, and it is up to the reader to believe what they will to an extent. Faulks cleverly evokes some degree of sympathy in the reader for Engleby and the lonely world he inhabits, yet we are fearful and chilled by some of his actions and reactions to people and events as the novel progresses. It was interesting to read a novel in which mental illness is dealt with, and compelling, though at times painful, to be inside Engleby's head. Though it doesn't make for an easy read, I really enjoyed this novel, and am glad I picked it up. The period detail of the times he lives through is a thorough and well written backdrop to the events that Engleby recites. I thought the occasional comments that are slipped in about the changes in education over the time period that the novel spans, 70's through to present day, were quite telling.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Could not get into it at all.
Published 2 months ago by Ivan Parkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book from a great writer
Great book from a great writer; He describes the torment of suffering child abuse and how it impacts upon him. He suffers and then so do we all
Published 2 months ago by WKR
3.0 out of 5 stars It's alright... Bit predictable but well written ...
It's alright ...Bit predictable but well written. Hard to keep up the Total perfection of Birdsong.
He set the bar too high!
Published 3 months ago by NatalieBrian
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
The worst book I have ever attempted to read. Dreadful is a euphemism.
Published 4 months ago by pencil
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Don't read this if you suffer with depression as it is a depressing book.
Published 5 months ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite but am stillimpresseds by it
very different to the other books I have read by Sebastian Faulks. Not my favourite but am stillimpresseds by it.
Published 5 months ago by Mavis
5.0 out of 5 stars Empathy With a Dubious Character
I'm almost an exact contemporary of the eponymous hero/villain, and the accounts of growing up disadvantaged, being given a scholarship boy's chance, and the transition to... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Richard Newbold
5.0 out of 5 stars Smitten
Not my first SF, but different from the others I read, and persuaded me to buy more. A great example of an unreliable narrator - but read it for yourself.
Published 7 months ago by LadyA
2.0 out of 5 stars Englby.
I didn't like this book, I read 17% of this book. I found it cruel and unpleasant. Sorry that i bought it.
Published 7 months ago by E.R.
4.0 out of 5 stars It was a long but mostly enjoyable journey
A protracted detective thriller accurately describing an aspect of college and London life in the last quarter of the 20th c , I loved it
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
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