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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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8726510,181 (3.38)82
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English (63)  Dutch (3)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
"Gabriel rested his teacup on a ziggurat of his head of chambers' upcoming briefs and looked out of the window, down towards the river. Swollen with December rain, it was gliding on beneath the lights of the Embankment..."

From the blurb: London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Seven wintry days to track the lives of seven 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 astry by Islamist theory; a hack book-reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on skunk and reality TV; and a Tube driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop. With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life, and the group is forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit.

The characters in this are a real mix (as I imagine they are supposed to be). The younger characters (Gabriel and Jenny) are the much more sympathetic ones, just getting on with their lives as best they can while still being just generally nice people. John Veals is a piece of work - clever to make someone so inhuman and remorseless. The examination of Hassan's life, obsession with Islamic theory, and conflict between his modern London life and what he has been taught was interesting and sensitive. The other characters I had forgotten until I read the blurb, but I don't remember deliberately skipping through any sections of this book until it hit another character. Faulks does well to keep them all appropriately separated.

So this is the first of Sebastian Faulks' books that I've read - even though I have both Birdsong and Charlotte Grey on the shelves. Sometimes it got a bit fanciful and obtuse, but on the whole, eminently readable while obviously skilful. Plotwise this is so-so; it's really a character study, I think. There is a certain tension added by John and Hassan's deeds, and various glimmers of romance here and there, but it's only really there to give the characters something to do.

And as for the setting: this is so very London. And not just very London, but not tourist London, real, people-who-live-here-and-commute-to-work-here London. The far-flung suburbs with their spectrum of class, the postcode giveaway of household earnings. And it's London December too - no particularly exciting weather, but grey and cold and a bit dreary but nearly Christmas so people are quite cheery and pubs are overflowing.

Good, but I'm not sure I'll re-read it. ( )
1 vote readingwithtea | Dec 24, 2014 |
This is a character study, set in London. Multiple characters, all very different. The story culminates at a millionaires dinner party. I found this a bit hard going in places but laugh out loud funny in others. My favourite characters were the female tube train driver, the reluctant teenage Islamic terrorist and the billionaire hedge fund manager who never laughs. ( )
1 vote cathymoore | Apr 18, 2014 |
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but I found the satire to be strained and to betray an awkwardness with some of the concepts (e.g. online gaming, reality tv) that were being portrayed. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending, but overall found it pretty dull going. ( )
  Kirstie_Innes-Will | Apr 18, 2014 |
For me this book just didn't work - it tried to pack too many topical themes into the book and I didn't feel like it did them well or that they came together in a satisfying way. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Apr 16, 2014 |
Faulks weaves a taut story involving a group of disparate characters whose lives intersect and then disperse over a week in London. This book packs a punch when it comes to the super rich, their vacuous and amoral lives obsessed with money, status and power. There are also some heart warming moments in amongst the very unlikeable characters. ( )
  sianpr | Jan 26, 2014 |
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...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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:18 -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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