A Week in December – Sebastian Faulks

A Week in December image

[Published 2010 by Vintage]

‘A Week in December’ had all of the ingredients to become a notable work of modern fiction in that it followed a number of very different characters over their lives for seven days in December and in that it was written by Sebastian Faulkes.

As much as I am a fan of the structure of the book and Faulkes’s technique, I found myself somewhat disappointed by this novel.

I read a review along the lines that the satire is like an inside joke. I can’t help but agree. The English setting, but more particularly the characters in it, are almost exclusionary at times, whereas I believe the reader expects something of a deeply intimate knowledge of them at the end of such a precise time scale within the book. This is one of the few times that a writer has failed to bring me into the fold.

At the same time, however, I can’t help but wonder if this may have been his intention – a fleeting glimpse at the surface of the lives of the characters; a taste of who they are and the things they grapple with. It is a book where the virtual and televisual merge, almost as a statement of society; how values get lost and are replaced with distractions and constructs that border on the ridiculous most of the time. If it is executed in the name of satire, it is quite dark and one is left pondering the banalities and trivialities befalling seemingly average people, often with sad consequences.

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