EnglebyMike 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 Engleby Can Be Read As A Lament For A Generation And The Country It Failed It Is Also A Poignant Account Of The Frailty Of Human Consciousness. This was a weird experience The book was very good and very very well written, but I don t know I loved it but didn t enjoy it Maybe because it spoke so well of human nature Too close for comfort.Parts of it were undeniably hil
In panic, time stops past, present and future exist as a single overwhelming force You then, perversely, want time to appear to run forwards because the future is the only place you can see an escape from the intolerable overload of feeling But at such moments time doesn t move And if time isn t running, then all events that we think of as past or future are actually happening simultaneously That is the really terrifying thing And you are subsumed You re buried, as beneath an avalanche, by the weight of simultaneous events These are the words of Mike Engleby, Sebastian Faulks socially awkward, darkly comic, overly intellectual, morally ambiguous and immensely unreliable narrator for whom consciousness is nothing short of a disease Borrowing from Patricia Highsmith, Samuel Beckett and Norman Bates, Faulks compelling, psychological character study begins slowly but builds to an almost unbearable level of suspense It s one of the most exciting books I ve read this year Initially, the novel is quite restricted in its perspective, centering on the protagonist s first person narrative The produc
Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted here illegally Too awful to finish 5 in an ongoing series The Accused Engleby, by Sebastian Faulks How far I got 220 pages two thirds of the way through Crimes Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, unlike most of the other books at CCLaP that were too awful to finish, Engleby stands accused of only one crime of simply never telling an interesting enough story for me to want to stick it through to the very end Oh, I tried, ladies and gentlemen, oh how I tried, especially with the book itself being founded on a serviceable enough premise it s the bildigsroman life story of a young British wisp of a nobody named Mike Engleby, an anti social everyman who never really engages with his fellow humans nor ever really lives a full human life who has some sort of dark story in his past regarding a female classmate and a violent death, but that we don t know in
This is a great book, despite the narrative awkwardness that shows up in the end It s true that Mike Engleby has a mental illness, but that s not why he s an important character He s important because there s something of him, sick as he is, in every smart outsider And every truly smart person should be at least a bit of an outsider, don t you agree He is fascinated with the popular music of the time, finding significance in it He politely goes along with people around him, while privately holding them in contempt He things they re just doing meaningless or pretentious things Arrogant yet painfully shy a lot of shy people are really hostile if you get right down to it , he maneuvers to spend time near not with his fantasy girl When she disappears he s not sure he had anything to do with it, because he tries to blot things out with alcohol and pills, even though he has a phenomenal memory.Almost the whole story is told from Mike s point of view One of the most amazing scenes, however, is when a couple of pages toward the end are told from the point of view of Mike s best friend, and we see Mike from the outside The change in perspective in wrenching and enlightening What Faulks does, and I think
This was a really compelling read I read Birdsong many years ago, and I think that s the only Faulks novel I ve ever read and I frankly don t remember too much about, including whether or not I liked it, so it s unlikely I would have picked this up on my own An NPR interview steered me in the direction of this book.A fascinating character study of a sociopath, telling particularly early on in what isn t implicitly stated than in what is I couldn t put it down I find myself unab
Engleby gripped me from the start I love books set in Oxford or Cambridge, the whole student scene fascinates me, especially when set in the seventies, it has that retro vibe of a scene I missed out on by a few years If that wasn t compelling enough for me, the story moves on to London in the eighties, not only the same era I lived in London but also the same part of London I lived in I ate in the sa
My taste in contemporary fiction tends towards authors Coetzee, Saramago, Barrico, DeLillo, Gustafsson, Murakami, Oshiguro that master the art of meshing the darkly epic, the philosophically profound and the mildly surrealist into a compelling literary edifice A few weeks ago I hurriedly picked up a copy of Faulks Engleby in an airport bookshop To be honest, I had never heard of Sebastian Faulks but there was something in the introductory paragraph a mixture of matter of factness and grating irony that made me want to read on My name is Mike Engleby, and I m in my second year at an ancient university My college was founded in 1662, which means it s viewed here as modern Its chapel was designed by Hawksmoor, or possibly Wren its gardens were laid out by someone else whose name is familiar I was hooked before even the plane had left the tarmac The fascination endured, and deepened into exhilaration, as the narrative unfolded over its 340 pages and culminated in a spellbinding finale.This book can be convincingly read as a murder mystery, a complex psyc
This was a very strange reading experience The premise was intriguing, but I didn t really like the book from the first chapter Being a completist with OCD, alas there was no choice but to finish it, so I trudged on For the first half of the book I positively hated it, then it either improved or made it seem so through a case of literary Stockholm Syndrome Now, having finished it, from the rear view perspective, I can t say I liked it, but there was a grudging sort of appreciation At least I didn t hate it all the way Engleby is a dense almost stream of consciousness style tale of an unreliable, unlikable and unsympathetic narrator He has some sort of a psychological disorder, possibly of an autistic variety He doesn t emote, love or experience joy, yet he manages to make a pretty decent life for himselffor a time It is only when a glitch in the precisely tuned machinery of his life, that it becomes a relatively compelling or at least interesting read There is a murder, but it s barely a thriller There is a mystery of sorts, but even an averagely perceptive reader will see it coming from a mile away What saves the book from utter tedium are some cle
Liked the first half about school, college and the start of journalistic career VERY much, then it got sort of pointless, and the last quarter was just meh Also, Faulks sucks when he starts talking war, politics, our imperfect world etc. My time is stretched, but I want to try to review at least one book a week Time for Engleby.This book was breath takingly brilliant It was one of those rare books where incredible writing and an intriguing storyline combine to create, for me, the perfect novel I was completely bewitched by Sebastian Faulks in this novel A lesser writer may have lost me Who would have thought that an ex Cambridge graduate looking back over his complex life and recounting ragged and random encounters of it, could make such compelling reading Well, in the hands of a master craftsman in Sebastian Faulks, it was possible Engleby surname of said protagonist is revealed page by page to the reader, who feels a little puzzled about this character Told in first person, being right inside the head of Engleby is slightly disturbing at times, and moving at other times and very amusing at yet other times I ve never been so close up to a character and simultaneously felt as though I didn t really know them at all It s impossible to describe the merits of this novel It has to be experienced, felt, savoured Novels, by their nature, are always going to be subjective For me, this was supreme story telling novel writing at its very best It bored my husband who gave up and didn t finish it I m so glad his negativity he half read i