Sebastian Faulks’s new novel is a bolt from the blue, unlike anything he has written before: contemporary, demotic, heart-wrenching – and funny, in the deepest shade of black.
Mike Engleby says things that others dare not even think.
When the novel opens in the 1970s, he is a university student, having survived a ‘traditional’ school. A man devoid of scruple or self-pity, Engleby provides a disarmingly frank account of English education.
Yet beneath the disturbing surface of his observations lies an unfolding mystery of gripping power. One of his contemporaries unaccountably disappears, and as we follow Engleby’s career, which brings us up to the present day, the reader has to ask: is Engleby capable of telling the whole truth?
“Evidence of Faulks's remarkable empathy and mastery of the novelist's art... Compelling, disturbing and significant... A remarkable achievement. What more can you ask for?”
Allan Massie, Scotsman
“Engleby contains much of brilliance; Faulks turns out to be an unnervingly good ventriloquist - where did he learn to imitate the overblown modulations of an 18-year-old girl's diary? - and a born thriller writer”
Mail on Sunday
“Very funny and, at the same time, deeply disturbing...Engleby the character is a tour-de-force, a person utterly without empathy who nevertheless evokes our own... A great read, a great novel”
“Just as Birdsong is praised for its minute evocation of the horror of fighting a war, Engleby deserves praise for its close and believable depiction of a personality disorder”
“Like Human Traces, Engleby is distinguished by a remarkable intellectual energy: a narrative verve, technical mastery of the possibilities of the novel form and vivid sense of the tragic contingency of human life... The combination of serious purpose and playful execution is intensely exhilarating”
Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
“Both repellent and magnetic, yet unforgettable. Faulks's most daring creation yet”
Scotland on Sunday
“Witty, poignant, Engleby is as cold as a Fenland wind, clever as a Cambridge don”
“Engleby himself is the most vivid personality Faulks has yet devised... engagingly lucid and disarmingly funny... This novel is a significant departure for Faulks, and the new terrain suits him well”
“Electrifying... [Engleby] hangs together beautifully”
Roger Lewis, Daily Express