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A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
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A Week in December (2010)

by Sebastian Faulks

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962708,994 (3.37)86
  1. 30
    The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (browner56)
    browner56: Interesting social satire that takes shots at the hubris of the financial services industry
  2. 10
    Capital by John Lanchester (Nickelini)
  3. 00
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (jbvm)
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English (68)  Dutch (3)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
I enjoyed meeting the different characters in this book and learning about their lives. The finale was a bit disappointing, it could have ended in many different ways and I get the impression that the author backed out at the last minute from certain endings. ( )
  sundowneruk | Feb 2, 2016 |
I think I've come to the conclusion that I don't know what all the fuss is about re Sebastian Faulks. I've only read two of his books so far and both of them have left me feeling 'meh'.

This book is set in 2007 and follows the lives of a wide cast of intersecting characters over seven days. Mostly set in London & mostly revolving round the imminent banking crisis.

The characters are very sketchily drawn, one or two are more rounded, but there are just too many to give any sense of depth to any of them. I found one or two that I could warm too: Hassan and his family and friend Shahla, Jenni and her brother, Gabriel and his brother - I would have liked much more about them.

The Veals family, whilst distinctly unpleasant people, were reasonably detailed, as was all the wheeling and dealing behind hedge funds (I know a friend referred to it as 'Janet and John do hedge fund management' but as I had a very sketchy understanding of it, that didn't bother me too much). What I didn't like was his treatment of Islam or his veiled linking of religion to Schizophrenia. On the whole I didn't care if most of them lived or died or what was going to happen to them over the week - Hassan was the only reason I bothered reading to the end. He also hardly bothered to disguise the various financial institutions - all very obvious, even to me. Surprised he hasn't been taken to task about it. Oh and what was the point of the recurring bicycle with no lights? Can anyone explain that to me? Lastly, his TV program: It's Madness. He should leave that to Ben Elton, he does it far better.

The only sentence that stays with me and I feel is resonant with the point of the book and where we are today.
The hostess of 'the dinner party' is considering all her multi-million rich guests and realises:
"But apart from Farooq al-Rashid,.........none of them had engaged with anything that actually existed".
Sad inditement (me included) is that most folk aren't employed in actually producing anything anymore.

I still intend to read Birdsong as I believe it's supposed to be very good. Am going to check Mount TBR and see if I have any others of his awaiting my attention & then off load them - I think there's very little chance of me wanting to read them after this. (Just checked - I have a copy of On Green Dolphin Street too - anyone going to step up & tell me it's worth reading???) ( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
This book promised so much and failed to deliver the pace was slow and I found myself losing track of who was who and what they were doing. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
It is 2007 and people with lots of money living in London are going to a dinner party. Mostly this is a story of a young Muslim man who has become radicalised and a hedge fund manager who is hoping to make a killing by bringing a bank down. But also woven in the story is a love story between a barrister and a tube driver, a Polish football player and his girlfriend, a bitter book reviewer and a pickle-magnate collecting a gong from the palace. The novel has lots of detail, particularly what everyone is wearing and what they are eating and this jarred somewhat. Not as engaging a novel as I would have liked, I was rushing to finish it by the end. He packs a lot in and I would have preferred something a bit sparser. That said, the general tale was interesting and I learnt a lot about hedge funds and markets. ( )
  Tifi | Jan 8, 2016 |
One of the seven key characters in this book is a book reviewer who loathes the modern "media darling" authors. Odd, because I would have included Sebastian Faulks in that coterie, until this book. It is beautifully plotted and crafted, with finely drawn characters, some of whom you will love, one of whom you will definitely hate (unless you are involved in high finance). But the overwhelming tone of the book is one of anger at what has happened in the UK, and especially London over the last two decades. Another reviewer identified London as the eighth key character, I agree and expect real Londoners, like me, to appreciate this really gripping read. Over the last few years I have quite a few "state of the nation" novels. In my view this is the best of them. ( )
1 vote johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
...a compelling tale of contemporary London.
 
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'Zolang de muziek speelt, moet je overeind blijven en dansen... We dansen nog steeds.'
Chuck Prince, bestuursvoorzitter, Citigroup, interview Financial Times, 9 juli 2007
'Als je met God praat, dan bid je. Als God met jou praat, dan heb je schizofrenie.'
Dr. Thomas Szasz, psychiater, The Second Sin, 1973
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For David Jones-Parry
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Five o'clock and freezing.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385532911, Hardcover)

From the author of the bestselling Birdsong comes a powerful novel that melds the moral heft of Dickens and the scrupulous realism of Trollope with the satirical spirit of Tom Wolfe.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:16 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters. With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life.

» see all 7 descriptions

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