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London: the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters: a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamist theory; a hack book reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on reality TV and genetically altered pot; and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop.
With daring skill and savage humor, A Week in December explores the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life; as the novel moves to its gripping climax, its characters are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they - and we all - inhabit.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Cariola on 04-23-10
Something Different from Faulks
I'm fascinated by books that move among multiple points of view, interweaving the characters' mini-plots into one well-crafted whole. Sebastian Faulks's latest novel successfully does just that. With tongue firmly in cheek, but also with a good amount of affection for all of his characters, he gives us a satirical view of contemporary London society: the good, the bad, the ugly, the charming, and the misguided.
If the novel has one fault, it may be that there are too many threads in the plot, and, as a result of the focus on hedge fund owner John Veals and would-be terrorist Hassan al Rashid, some characters get shorted. I wanted to know more about Jenni Fortune, the book-loving tube conductor who is addicted to an online role-playing game, and her blooming romance with barrister Gabriel Northwood; Gabriel's schizophrenic brother Adam; the senior al-Rashids; Spike, the Polish soccer player, and his girlfriend, Olya, who poses for online porn.
The novel runs the reader through the full emotional gamut. Perhaps the most satisfying moments for me were those that reflect on books, reading, academia, and the world of competitive literary prizes. Faulks is at his satirical best here. As an educator, I was particularly amused by a small incident, the book reviewer R. Tantor being hired (undercover, of course) by a school to write comments on students' papers, a way of appeasing the parents who complained that the teachers themselves couldn't even spell. And I was highly amused by Trantor's observation that technology has managed to make ignorance not only acceptable but an asset. He's a cranky old bird who gets his comeuppance in the end but his perceptions are often right on target.
A Week in December is sharp, entertaining, and complex. It's one of those rare books that I will likely read again one day because I have the feeling that I might have missed something
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Elisabeth on 04-16-10
Reminds me of Ian McEwan
This is a beautifully written book with, to me, a distinctly masculine feel. The style reminds me so much of Ian McEwan's Saturday, but more than the very short period of time in which the book takes place and that it's set in London. Both books left me with a bit of an industrial feel, due to the lack of warmth betwixt the characters that is normally present in female writing. Interesting and different, especially when you contrast the two charaters who are going to (w/o giving anything away) blow up the world both for perceived self glory.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful