There is something about Sebastian Faulks; I so would like to say that his novels are sheer genius, but my gut says no. I have read “Birdsong” and now “A week in December” and let me just remind you that my gut is subjective and does not belong to an English professor.
Sebastian Faulks’ aim with “A week in December” is evident – to portray the zeitgeist of today (2007) through a series of storylines that interconnect and characters that are somewhat typical: the hedge fund manager, the teenager addicted to skunk and reality TV, the tube driver who escapes in novels and a virtual reality, an Islamic religious young man, a barrister without cases, and a book reviewer who trashes contemporary literature. None of these characters are sympathetic or worthy of a novel themselves and in some ways it seems to me that Sebastian Faulk simply uses the novel to flaunt his research in the Koran and trade in derivatives.
I generally love when stories come full circle, but Sebastian Faulks takes the full circle-notion to the extreme as the hedge fund manager greets the footballer’s girlfriend who he thinks he knows, only to realize that she is the model he prefers to ogle online during business hours.
Recommending “A week in December” is difficult; perhaps someone interested in the description of zeitgeist or a member of a literati book club, looking for a novel to dissect.
In preparation of this review, I came across Gregory Cowles “Sins of a Capitalist” in the New York Times Sunday Book Review (published March 18, 2010) and I found his review very accurate. See link below.