A Week in December: Sebastian Faulks

London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Seven Wintry days to track the lives of seven characters;’Image

This book written by Sebastian Faulks follows the interchanging lives of a selection of people during a week in December 2007. Throughout the narrative the book dips and bobs between the daily lives and troubles of the characters including a train driver obsessed with a life in the cyber world creating a new identity for herself, a failing teenager hooked on the temptation of skunk and pizza, and a mocking book reviewer, critically reviewing any new author desperate to drive their career into the ground.

However there are three characters pinnacle to the story. A lawyer, the moral compass of the story who not only has the worry of his brother suffering from schizophrenia, but a long lost love; the only image left on a mobile phone that no longer works, Faulks states ‘perhaps the loss of her had made him miserable for ever.’ However we see his paths crossing with Jenny Fortune the tube train driver substituting her life for an addiction in online gaming. The connection between them is a little predictable but lovable. The second is a banker; the baddie of the story- a ‘money-cruncher’ obsessed with making profit and no regards to the effect on his family such as his son Finn obsessed with skunk and with no plans for the future. Throughout Veals story we see his obsession with making and hoarding money but not his wish to enjoy it. Finally Hassan, a teenager led astray by Islamist theory. Throughout the book we see his struggle, swaying between whether to become part of terrorism group or to continue his life as a normal teenager.

The main drive of this book is its continual cynical narrative style that mocks different characters and the lives that they lead. However it is not only the characters. Faulks writes of an era of stupidity arguing that computer spell check has ‘remodelled the world so that ignorance is not really a disadvantage.’ He mocks societies obsession with reality television seen in the reality TV program watched by Finn that mocks and jokes of people with mental illness. Faulks blasts the life of a Londoner, bringing in woes such as the credit crunch and lack of money and employment seen through the lack of cases for character lawyer Gabriel. The dipping and bobbing between characters keeps the reader interested and drives us on to read the finale of the seven characters. A Week in December has so much to recommend, the stories are delicately interwoven with the characters becoming interlaced in other characters stories. The cynical style of writing creates a number of hilarious moments however it is laced with woe and worry for the future of society.

“From Havering to Holland Park, from Forest Hill to Ferrers End, from Upminster to Parsons Green, the individuals would shortly leave their flats and houses, fragrant and hopeful, bang the doors, and go like invisible cells into the bloodstream of the city…”

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