Powerful contemporary novel set in London from a master of literary fiction
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 skunk and reality TV; and a Tube train 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. Greed, the dehumanising effects of the electronic age and the fragmentation of society are some of the themes dealt with in this savagely humorous book. The writing on the wall appears in letters ten feet high, but the characters refuse to see it – and party on as though tomorrow is a dream.
Sebastian Faulks probes not only the self-deceptions of this intensely realised group of people, but their hopes and loves as well. As the novel moves to its gripping climax, they are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit.
“Faulks's most vivid character is the odious John Veals, a hedge-fund manager, who relishes all the money that he makes and the power that he quietly exerts... Veals is brilliantly insidious... A thoughtful page-turner ... The handsome sunset is heavily, and rightly, weighed down by dark clouds.”
“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”
“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.”
“A portrayal of modern London that is both richly entertaining and highly rewarding. Faulks has come as close as anyone to completing the jigsaw that is this crazy, fascinating city of ours.”
“A vicious satire on modern life”
“a zeitgeisty novel about the effects of greed, celebrity, the electronic age and the fragmentation of urban life. It's gripping stuff [...] Sweeping and satirical, A Week in December is a thrilling state-of-the-nation novel.”
Elizabeth Dare, Cath Kidson Magazine
“The novel is cleverly plotted and eminently readable...”
Peter Parker, Sunday Times
“Faulks never writes a hackneyed or lazy sentence, polishing each with care”
Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday
“Page-turning portrait of noughties' London.”
Woman & Home
“One can't mistake Faulk's ambition, and his take on the contemporary life is never less than readable”
“This intriguing book, shaped by modern manners and foibles as much as actions and outcomes, takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour of society.”
Waterstone's Book Quarterly
“The author cleverly brings together the two things that are troubling the nation most - the collapse of the financial system and the threat of terrorism. The book is compelling.”
Nicola Horlick, Evening Standard, Christmas round up