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Fold [Kindle Edition]

Tom Campbell
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £11.99
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Book Description

Five friends. One year. All bets are off.Reading, 2009. It may not be Vegas, but for Nick, Doug, Vijay, Alan and Simon, it's as good as they're going to get.Each in their forties, and beset by anxieties, flaws and frustrations, they meet monthly in each other's houses for a 'friendly' game of poker, enabling Doug to show off his new-minted wealth, Simon to insist on serving only red wine and goats' cheese and Nick - swimming in a cocktail of envy, fear, bravado and disappointment - to make increasingly desperate attempts to bring an end to his interminable losing streak.While Vijay meticulously records every win and loss on his spreadsheet, and Alan frets about his propensity to break into sweat and his inability to get his wife pregnant, Nick becomes obsessed with the idea of engineering Doug's downfall: Doug, who with his big house, his successful business and his appalling taste is both everything that Nick aspires to and resents. Convinced of the heroic nature of his task, he aims to triumph over Doug in poker, as well as in life, and in doing so he comes into troubling proximity to Sophia, Doug's clever and beautiful wife ...

Product Description


You need know nothing about cards to relish the scabrous black comedy [...] in Tom Campbell's scintillating debut novel ... Campbell pulls off the difficult trick of putting the reader in the company of essentially unlikeable characters but keeping us thoroughly entertained. In doing so, he echoes the precise, unbridled nastiness of early 1980s Martin Amis. The pages of lean, measured prose ping with telling bons mots and, as the stakes are raised, the ruthless gamesmanship involving drugs and indecent exposure defies you not to laugh out loud even as you gasp in horror at the amorality (Metro)

All the men are wondering - with the funny yet bleak dialogue of other boys' novels (Hornbyesque with a touch of Nick Cave's Grinder Man album thrown in) - how on earth they ended up teaching or in IT or poor or married to a bitch, in Reading ... a hilarious expose of the insane levels of competition between blokes (Daily Mail)

Book Description

Bitingly funny, glitteringly dark and bursting with humanity, Fold is a tale of friendship and rivalry, of jokers and kings, and of learning that it's not the hand life deals you, but what you do with it, that counts

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 562 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (6 Jun. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00555PU2S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #150,792 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midlife Crisis, on the money 13 Nov. 2011
By prawnz
Really enjoyed this book - it's engaging, funny, well-observed and easy to read. Not only that, but for a novel which points towards a denouement where all the threads are burned, I was pleased that the ending was neither contrived nor predictable but convincing and satisfying. It felt cinematic: it's pacy, the characters are familiar, if not complex, and the shifts in their relationship have a strong visual thread. A fun read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Sharp, Very Funny 4 Jun. 2011
This is a really witty yet intelligent debut from Tom Campbell. Five unlikely mates meet each month to play poker, only one plays to win, one plays seemingly only to record statistics, the others are a mixture of getting away from their wives or showing off their homes. Each month we move from one home to the next and the reader gets into the life of each of the players as the poker games are played. You don't need to know a thing about poker, I certainly didn't but by half way through the book I knew enough to follow who had the best hand and who was bluffing. It's full of satirical comments and observations of life in general and the lives of the other poker players as we get inside the heads of each player. Doug is a bragger, lucky and the enemy of Nick. Nick is a bit of a loser, unlucky but needs to bring Doug down. Alan is nervous, having been told he has a `tell' and is even more nervous about what it can be and furthermore is anxious about his inability to get his wife pregnant. Vijay is a total statistic and percentages geek, taking ages to work out whether or how to make a move and then there's Simon, quiet and the only one who seems to be in it to win. The highlight of the story is the bringing down of Doug by Nick. It's almost painful to read about Doug and how much money he's about to lose with the other four looking on in disbelief - but this is poker and it could go either way. There are moments of pure emotion, empathy and compassion for the inner feelings of these bravado fuelled blokes but the ultimate feeling on finishing the book is what a riot of a laugh that was. Without the risk of being rude, this is intelligent lad-lit at its best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dice Man meets Lucky Jim for the 21st century 11 Oct. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading this book and couldn't recommend it more highly. It follows a bunch (or maybe a pack) of five men in their early forties who meet up every month to play poker. But really poker's just a metaphor for the lucky and luckless lives they each are leading and the existential crises they suffer as they crawl helplessly into middle age. They're all stuck in their various ruts in the suburbs of Reading and each starts lashing out at the others as if in a last roar of an ageing lion (or in some cases the last squeak of a dying mouse). But ultimately the odyssey upon which each one of them has embarked inevitably brings them back to their home shores, perhaps not wiser but at least a little more appreciative of the few good hands they've variously been dealt. It's deliciously funny, insightful and also at times terribly sad and reminded me of books such as The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart and one of my all-time favourites Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. I've heard it said that if men want to try and understand women they should watch `Sex and the City'. Well, if women want to try and understand a little more about the mid-life crisis of the suburban British male then they might do worse than start with this fantastically entertaining debut novel from Tom Campbell.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fold 22 Jun. 2011
Tom Campbell's debut novel covers a year in the life of five friends, told through the events of their monthly poker night, although friends may be too strong a word for this collection of people who don't seem to have a lot in common apart from their card habit. There's a ruthless side to the matches, and these people don't have any qualms about seizing any advantage they can in order to win. It's friendship as competition, but definitely not friendly competition. Campbell understands that competitive emotion, the one where it's not enough to win, but someone else has to lose.
You don't need to know the ins and outs of poker - I certainly don't - but it's a great way of getting inside the characters' heads, and it's a neat trick to have the way they play reveal their personalities. The main narrative concerns Nick's attempts to get one over on the more successful Doug, and this can be seen as a twelve month long hand of poker - he assembles his hand, raises the stakes and finally - but no, that'd be telling....

This is a very enjoyable first novel, and one that really taps into what it's like to be forty and realizing that life hasn't quite turned out the way you thought it would. I can empathise with that. And I bet you can as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insider knowledge on how men think 14 July 2011
By Marice
Revenge, infatuation, paranoia, helplessness and inner reflection - it's all here and a real page turner. Didn't expect to enjoy it so much, but absolutely loved it, can't wait for the second book to happen and learn more about how men think and what drives them. Fabulous!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Royal Flush! 7 Jun. 2011
I guess in some ways I'm the target reader for this book - a thirtysomething male who likes a bit of poker. So it's no surprise that I loved it. Although you probably don't need to know anything about the game to enjoy it, as the characters and story are so strong. But if you have ever played in a regular poker group then you will immediately relate to the rivalries, jealousies and tension that are at the heart of it - and which in this book will make you laugh out loud.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I put the book down - because it made me down
I could not get on with this book. I read the first chapter and found the cynical style of writing not to my taste. Read more
Published 4 months ago by 7rainbow777
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good!
I read this after reading The Planner. If you like poker it would help, but it's by no means essential to reading the book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by twinmum
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this one!
Having just read Tom Campbell's new novel, The Planner, which I loved, I thought I'd read his first book. I have to say, I enjoyed this one very nearly as much. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Anita Onwuegbuzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Very very funny
I absolutely loved this! Didn't think I would given the subject matter (poker, men, no shoes etc) but found myself laughing throughout. Definitely recommend.
Published 5 months ago by Judith Rosser-Davies
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire
Couldn't finish this book. Only the second time this had ever happened. The characters were shallow and unlikeable. Not recommended.
Published 13 months ago by mmmppph
1.0 out of 5 stars Really uncaptivating. Link to review below:
Fold really fails to invoke or inspire any interest in the read. A review for the book can be found here:

Published 18 months ago by Imran Lorgat
1.0 out of 5 stars A mean little book
A group of one dimensional stereotypes reflecting the authors own issues with the world at large.

Dull, badly written garbage - it comes as no surprise that the author... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Men Dhu
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant
I must admit, I've never been much of a card player and so was a bit hesitant about reading this, but I enjoyed it from start to finish. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Nigel B
4.0 out of 5 stars Really fun
This is not a plot-book but the characterisation is absolutely superb. The story cracks on with excellent dialog and all the characters are 3 dimensional and interesting. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Hampstead Mackem
2.0 out of 5 stars Reading, Berks
It's brave to write a book set in Reading, possibly England's dullest town and home of it's most tragic soccer team which surprisingly doesn't feature in this tale of a sad loser -... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Summersalt
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