Absorbed by Sebastian Faulks

Engleby and A Week in December

Sebastian Faulks

I discovered Sebastian Faulks about this time last year when I bought the airport edition of A Week in December (I do love those big sized paperbacks) – 4 for 3 offer, I bit excessive but couldn’t resist Juliet, Naked, The Complaints and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

A Week in December had a number of stories running through the novel, almost a chapter per character. I have a very thin memory for plots. I never remember the plot of a novel even a few weeks after I have finished reading it. I remember how much I liked it, its atmosphere and some images. I loved A Week in December and remember the depth of its characters, their solitude and the fact that I couldn’t wait to open the book and continue reading it.

I have now finished Engleby – what a treat! It’s the perfect commuting book – the stations whiz by and you can’t wait to commute in the morning as it means uninterrupted reading time for a while (ok, maybe that is going a bit too far, but you know what I mean…)

The problem with writing about Engleby is that if I share what I most enjoyed about it, I will spoil it.

Written in the first person (my favourite kind of novel), we share Engleby’s life from his childhood until his 50s. The tone of the book changes accordingly but we constantly feel like we are almost inside his head. I can still see his room in his boarding school, his university campus and the office where he interviewed Ken Livingstone.

Faulks is not a descriptive writer but the protagonist’s thoughts are so strong and the action so well narrated that the story unfolds in your mind just like a film.

I loved it and can’t wait to read more by Sebastian Faulks – any personal favourites, please post them my way.


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