Mike Engleby says things that others dare not even think.
When the novel opens in the 1970s, he is a university student, having survived a 'traditional' school. A man devoid of scruple or self-pity, Engleby provides a disarmingly frank account of English education.
Yet beneath the disturbing surface of his observations lies an unfolding mystery of gripping power. One of his contemporaries unaccountably disappears, and as we follow Engleby's career, which brings us up to the present day, the reader has to ask: is Engleby capable of telling the whole truth?
Engleby can be read as a lament for a generation and the country it failed. It is also a poignant account of the frailty of human consciousness.
Sebastian Faulks's new novel is a bolt from the blue, unlike anything he has written before: contemporary, demotic, heart-wrenching - and funny, in the deepest shade of black.