Thursday, June 21, 2007

What they called a 'quote'

It won't be published in the US till September, but in London in May I picked up a copy of Sebastian Faulks' Engleby and I am happy to report that it's quite wonderful. I've loved Faulks's books for a long time, ever since I first read Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, and this one is maybe even my favorite yet. It's at once darker and much funnier than his others--the intellectual-academic satire in Mike Engleby's deadpan descriptions of Cambridge in the 1970s is altogether delightful--I was laughing out loud at points, and yet really it's an unsettling or even dismaying novel (it's not at all like Gulliver's Travels in its texture, but Engleby is a kind of Gulliver for our time, with that criminally detached descriptive mentality that makes Book Four of Gulliver's Travels basically the single most indispensable work of English literature, maybe along with King Lear).

I'm not sure how readable it will be (click on it, and the image gets bigger), but I'm going to scan a page to give you the texture of the prose--this is Engleby having recently finished his degree getting his first break in 1970s London as a journalist:

1 comment:

  1. Ever read his non-fiction book "The Fatal Englishman"? I highly recommend it!