A Week in December Paperback – 2 Sep 2010
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"Richly entertaining and highly rewarding" (Evening Standard)
"During times of momentous change, men of letters are driven to produce works that fictionalise the state of the nation, linking individuals with historic events. The 19th century gave us Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Dickens's Our Mutual Friend and Trollope's The Way We Live Now; the 21st has given us Sebastian Faulks's A Week in December" (Sunday Times)
"Often edgily satirical, sometimes deeply affecting, A Week in December grasps its headline motifs with the strong and supple hands of a master" (Independent)
"Hilarious... The satire is so vicious that at times it's like reading a Tom Sharpe novel" (Daily Telegraph)
"This vast novel, well-plotted and gripping throughout, is the first that Sebastian Faulks has set in our time...the ambition and scope of the book are to be applauded. The conclusion is suitably nail-biting and, pleasingly, love triumphs. Sebastian Faulks has probably got another best-seller on his hands" (Spectator)
Powerful contemporary novel set in London from a master of literary fiction.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In the event I found the ending excellent and the whole book coherent, stylish and important. It avoids the James Bond denouement that some readers seem to have been hoping for but surely they can find that elsewhere. The several catastrophes that were actually described are far more devastating for being far more real. Indeed the story mirrors events that have occurred since it was written to an extent which is truly extraordinary.
There was an element of satire and exaggeration as Faulks savaged his various modern stereotypes with devastating power. But for me the targets were well chosen and the attacks as justified as they were overdue. The Telegraph reviewer quoted on the back cover said it was 'hilarious' and the 'satire [was] so vicious..." Mandy Rice Davies once gave the definitive explanation for that kind of trivialisation of the book's attack!
Faulks' research is prodigious and the book gave insights into a surprising variety of faces of the modern world that I definitely needed to know about, even if I didn't particularly want to. The recurring motif of the anonymous cyclist without lights pushing past on the pavement gave a surreal feel which was a little magical.
I strongly recommend it. It deserves to endure as a parable of our age.
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.Read more ›
I did enjoy it but I would have to say it is basically missable. The way it is made up of a large ensemble of characters following various intersecting storylines does mean it is probable you will like some stories more than others and may groan when you see you have to trudge through another passage from your least favourite strand. But it does add variety and by the last 100 pages I was eager to find out how each storyline concluded.
My problems were mainly with authenticity: some characters were much less convincing than others, time after time people spoke in highly contrived rants, points the writer was trying to make were often conveyed heavy-handedly and there were too many unlikely coincidences and unbelievable plot points. In fact talking of authenticity, it kind of annoyed me the way Faulks avoided using the real-life names for so many things in the novel, or invented parts of pop-culture. The big female pop group are called Girls From Behind, the big reality show (on Channel 7) is called It's Madness and consists of a snippy panel of judges taking the piss out of the (literally) mentally-ill contestants who then go on to stay in a big-brother style house etc etc.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A collection of stories interwoven around the city of London in our present age.Published 26 days ago by Lee09
This book should be re-titled " An eternity of financial shenanigans". Page after page we the readers have to suffer protracted explanations of how the big players in the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Miss Ann Throp
There was much too much details of finance and banking. The book could have been halved in length without that. I gave up at 39% as I wasn't enjoying reading this book.Published 4 months ago by Minny mole
After reading about half of the book I'm sorry to say I'm giving up. I love reading & hate to leave a book half finished but this is truly mind numbing. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Martina Murphy
So much promise, but a poor ending.
I scratched my head in confusion.
Would not recommend.