12 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Smug and overrated,
This review is from: Headlong (Paperback)Starved of decent books here in Vietnam, I snatched up "Headlong" when I spotted it in my local second-hand bookshop but soon found myself wishing I hadn't bothered. Jilly Cooper is more deserving of a Booker nomination than this smug, middle-class nonsense.
It's rare to read a book in which not one single character is even remotely likeable, but "Headlong" actually achieves this. I don't know whom I disliked the most - the appallingly patronising, self-centred narrator Martin, his miserable wife Kate, the drunken, violent Tony Churt, or his feckless wife Laura. In the end I found myself siding with Churt as everyone around him tries to rip him off and betray him.
"Headlong" is typical of so many British writers (Barnes and McEwan spring to mind) who are incapable of writing about normal people and seem to see middle-class acadaemia as "normality". We are constantly asked to see the Clays as struggling and impoverished, yet they have a flat in London anda cottage in the country. The poor dears.
Sure the sections on the life of Bruegel are fascinating and have at least made me want to seek out the paintings mentioned, but as a novel "Headlong" truly stinks.