Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

A Week in December

A Week in December: Sebastian Faulks, December 1—7, 2015

My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
AWeekInDecember
A Week in December follows the lives of a number of individuals over the course of seven days. It begins with the planning of a dinner party, and ends with that same party taking place.

Ambitious in scope, Faulks attempts to cross-section society with characters that include wealthy hedge fund managers and lawyers, tube drivers, and disillusioned teenagers.

For the most part, he does this very well. Many of the hallmarks of modern culture are there. From Jenni Fortune being more interested in her virtual life on Parallax to Hassan al-Rashid is a young Scottish Muslim drawn to extremism, many contemporary issues are exposed. It doesn’t have the bleakness of Charlie Brooks, or the parody of Elton, but it’s unquestionably a parody of many of the UK’s dearest held, and perhaps most laughable, attitudes.

There are rich back stories for each character that gradually unfold, and the concept of how each person impacts another is always one that fascinates me. Similar in theme but entirely different to execution to 253, Faulks takes a longitudinal view of the interpersonal web that can last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the continuation of the backstories are less well done. Not very much happens in this particular week in December. Once we have a handle on where the characters have been, there’s an appetite to carry on the tale that isn’t satisfied; instead, more history is regurgitated. In the case of John Veals, so much narrative is wasted on the intricacies of his profession that very little can develop in the plot.

By the second half of the book, you really want to congratulate Faulks on coming up with good characters that capture the modern zeitgeist but ask him to hurry it up a bit. Though there is progression, it’s lost in a myriad of introspection that drags the pace down to a near standstill. A week is a long time in politics, and even longer in this particular December.

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This entry was posted on December 7, 2015 by in 3 star.

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare