A Week in December takes place over the course of a single week. It brings together an intriguing cast of characters, each apparently in his or her own world but - as gradually becomes clear - intricately related.
As the story builds to its climax, Faulks pulls together powerful ideas about family, money, religion and the way we live today.
©2009 Sebastian Faulks (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
I am really enjoying this audiobook. The story is fascinating - we are introduced to several seemingly unconnected characters - and gradually they all fit in to the narrative as it slowly unfolds. Faulks' writing is first rate - his description of how the hedge funds make their money is an education in itself. The great strength of this recording however is the sterling work done by the narrator - Colin Mace. He has to cope with a different voice for each character, and does so brilliantly. I strongly recommend this book.
I'm disappointed to be writing this review, I like Sebastian Faulks (or at least, I did) especially Birdsong and Engleby. But A Week in December is full of difficult to believe characters and pompous moralising, especially on the subject of state education, which Faulks, having being educated at a posh public schools seems to know very little about. Ditto, football. The passages involving the Polish centre forward training at his new premiership team are patronising and excruciating. After having recently read 'The Big Short', a much better book on the financial crash, then even the descriptions of the Hedge Fund manager and his machinations felt shallow and unconvincing.
I've read most of Sebastian Faulk's books and am impressed by his versatility across a range of genres. He has written some splendid and moving books, but "A Week in December" is not one of them. Despite an excellent reader, who helps the listener differentiate among the large number of characters, I was confused for the first few chapters as to who was whom as so many were introduced at the start of the book. The book is largely a dystopic commentary on modern urban life in Britain. There are over-long polemics about the genesis of the banking crisis and much about the rise of Islamic extremism. Through the voice of a character who is a writer and critic Faulks airs some of his criticisms of other writers, albeit disguised for those of us not in the know.
The book is made up of several stories running in parallel that hardly impinge on one another and so the expectation is that by the end some connections will be formed. My main disappointment is how the book ends.
This book was an interesting and often enjoyable book to listen to, although I did find the large cast somewhat confusing. It had pace and I liked the juxtaposition of different story lines that sometimes overlapped to give a snap shot of a crucial week in London.
Fairly typical and predictable story about terrorists in modern Britain. pretty dull really. It's ok but not really very inspiring and listening became a chore rather than a joy.
This book is cynical, angry and a very difficult read. Every character preaches about something and the narration is flat and lifeless. Very disappointing all round.
I have increasingly become a big fan of Sebastian Faulks. This book is my favourite to date. The narrator is perfect and manages to sound different and convincingly so, for each character. Gabriel Northwood is the lone voice of sanity and common decency and gets my vote. Interesting thoughts on "purist" Islam with some excellent living-in-the-real-world balance from the also excellent Farooq. Buy it and enjoy it - almost a book for our time.
Deep and entertaining observation of numerous lives inter-twining in 21st Century London, dealing with the topics of the day such as financiers' greed at everyone else's expense, the positives and negatives of multi-culturalism, the disaffection of youth and their escape into extremism and drug abuse, as well as the juxtaposition of virtual and real lives. Interesting, thought provoking and entertaining.
The novel was okay but hindered by a lack of understanding in areas covered; especially religion. The characters seemed rather one dimensional and somehow inhuman. It was supposed to be satire but came across as poorly nuanced cynicism.
I was so intrigued by way it made you think about modern society, parenting roles, bankers, fundamentalism and the recruitment of jihadists and more,that I had to listen to it twice. Very thought provoking and interesting; you don't have to agree with what you think the author may be implying but a revue of the values we live by is always useful.
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