Mike Engleby says things that others dare not even think. When the novel opens in the 1970s, he is a university student, having survived a 'traditional' school. A man devoid of scruple or self-pity, Engleby provides a disarmingly frank account of English education. Yet beneath the disturbing surface of his observations lies an unfolding mystery of gripping power. One of his contemporaries unaccountably disappears, and as we follow Engleby's career, which brings us up to the present day, the reader has to ask: is Engleby capable of telling the whole truth? Engleby can be read as a lament for a generation and the country it failed. It is also a poignant account of the frailty of human consciousness. Sebastian Faulks' new novel is a bolt from the blue, unlike anything he has written before: contemporary, demotic, heart-wrenching - and funny, in the deepest shade of black.
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"Evidence of Faulks's remarkable empathy and mastery of the novelist's art... Compelling, disturbing and significant... A remarkable achievement. It's a novel which holds your attention and, more importantly, one which makes you feel and think, one which invites you to ponder the mystery of character and the autonomous individual - if indeed there is such a being. What more can you ask for?" Allan Massie, Scotsman "Engleby contains much of brilliance; Faulks turns out to be an unnervingly good ventriloquist - where did he learn to imitate the overblown modulations of an 18-year-old girl's diary? - and a born thriller writer" Mail on Sunday "Very funny and, at the same time, deeply disturbing...Engleby the character is a tour-de-force, a person utterly without empathy who nevertheless evokes our own; a man with the intelligence to examine himself and yet still not understand. A great read, a great novel" Daily Mail "Just as Birdsong is praised for its minute evocation of the horror of fighting a war, Engleby deserves praise for its close and believable depiction of a personality disorder. Mike's memory lapses, brain-freezes and moments of wet-skinned panic are drawn with pitiless accuracy... What is perhaps most impressive in this convincing novel is that no matter how much we find out about Mike, he remains as indecipherable as white noise" Spectator "Like Human Traces, Engleby is distinguished by a remarkable intellectual energy: a narrative verve, technical mastery of the possibilities of the novel form and vivid sense of the tragic contingency of human life. Within the grand design of his narrative themes, Engleby's systematising nature allows Faulks the opportunity for bravura flourishes of Seventies period detail - the drugs, the music, the florid excesses of pre-Murdoch newspaper printers, the serpentine convolutions of suburban roundabouts, and so on. The combination of serious purpose and playful execution is intensely exhilarating" Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
About Sebastian Faulks
Sebastian Faulks was born and brought up in Newbury, Berkshire. He worked in journalism before starting to write books. He is best known for the French trilogy, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray (1989-1997) and is also the author of a triple biography, The Fatal Englishman (1996); a small book of literary parodies, Pistache (2006); and the novel Human Traces (2005). He lives in London with his wife and their three children.
Engleby by Sebastian Faulks
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