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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,043 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sebastian Faulks Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9780307714084
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From the author of the bestselling Birdsong comes a powerful novel that melds the moral heft of Dickens and the scrupulous realism of Trollope with the satirical spirit of Tom Wolfe.

London: the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters: a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamist theory; a hack book reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on reality TV and genetically altered pot; and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop.

With daring skill and savage humor, A Week in December explores the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life; as the novel moves to its gripping climax, its characters are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they—and we all—inhabit.

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • Two plots—one financial, the other terrorist—are being hatched, but there’s much more going on in this absorbing big-canvas view of contemporary London from Faulks (Engleby, 2007, etc.).
  • John Veals, a middle-aged hedge fund manager and the coldest of cold fish, is planning the collapse of a major British bank. His goal? To pump even more billions of dollars into his fund. Hassan al-Rashid, a young Muslim raised in Scotland, belongs to a jihadist cell. By chance, their schemes will climax simultaneously in December 2007. Faulks uses the tried-and-true countdown device as a backbeat. In the foreground is lucid if rather too lengthy exposition. To explain Veals’s strategy, Faulks leads us through the labyrinth of puts, calls, trades and more, while for Hassan he limns a credible step-by-step recruitment process. As a counterweight to the blandishments of the Koran, Faulks offers the reader the rational humanism of Gabriel Northwood, an impoverished barrister; the strident voice of the Koran reminds Gabriel uncomfortably of the voices plaguing his schizophrenic brother Adam. Gabriel’s somber hospital visits are a corrective to a shockingly cruel, hugely lucrative reality show that pillories the participants, all crazies. (Veals’s teenage son, a fan of the show, will join Adam after a drug-induced psychotic episode.) The light in Gabriel’s sad life is a new client, Jenni Fortune, the mixed-race driver of a subway train and devotee of video games. Unlike digital seductions (another Faulks theme), the love that grows between Gabriel and Jenni is piercingly real. For light relief, there’s Hassan’s wealthy businessman father, panicked before an audience with the Queen, soliciting advice on Great Books from an embittered reviewer, a veteran of the literary racket. Remarkably, Faulks retains control of his material as he shows us a world in which money rules, tunnel vision destroys and love remains the touchstone and redeemer.
    With its inexhaustible curiosity about the way the world works, this funny, exciting work is another milestone in a distinguished career.

  • The Chicago Tribune 
  • A WEEK IN DECEMBER "include[s] beautifully written riffs on how money really works... [it] is vigorous, authentic and often hilarious. The novel follows a hedge fund manager, a book critic, a subway ("tube" in British parlance) driver and a student who falls under the lethal spell of Islamic fundamentalism, among many others, but it is the hedge fund manager who resonates most. He is smart, ruthless, single-minded — and fascinating, in the way a shark or a serial killer can be fascinating: 'Somewhere in the passageways of John Veals' mind,' Faulks writes, 'beyond the thoughts of wife, children, daily living, carnal urges … there was a creature whose heart beat only to market movements.' ... Faulks [has] set a formidable standard ... clever and convincing, [it reminds] us that fiction always has the final word."

  • The L.A. Times
  • The English writer Sebastian Faulks is one of those curious novelists whose predilection for well-told stories and popularity with readers often have seemed impediments to serious regard.
  • The novel is unequivocally successful [as a] narrative . . . Readers will race through the pages like banks through cash. The Guardian

  • Kirkus Reviews, STARRED
    Faulks, Sebastian
  • That's a bit unfair because, with its knowing nods to Trollope, Dickens and Tom Wolfe, A WEEK IN DECEMBER -- his ninth work of full-length fiction -- is a formally ambitious, intelligently entertaining, rather provocative novel ... [Faulks] has a reporter's keen eye for telling details and a propulsive mastery of narrative."

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 2/15/2014

    " This book covers a week in the life of a large cast of characters. How the decisions these characters have to make as well as the ways their lives intersect becomes the major point of interest at the end of the book. A terrorist plot, a hedgefund takeover, and an unlikely romance keep you reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian Simpson | 2/4/2014

    " This is a novel for the period after the 2008 banking crisis. The characters Faulks has drafted into this story all, in different ways, represent the hollowness of contemporary society. In places it is laugh-out-loud funny, elsewhere very sad. Faulks skillfully brings the different strands together as the novel develops. For today it is an excellent satirical novel; for future generations it will be social history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 2/2/2014

    " As a fan of Sebastian Faulks work, I was thoroughly pleased with this accomplishment of his. Interesting, informative, thought provoking, topical and well written, as all of his books are. Having just returned from London, I also very much enjoyed the setting and his interesting use of the environment and the intersecting lives. Great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Imogene | 1/27/2014

    " Enjoyable. Read it whilst home sick, was happy to read it all in one sitting. A bit overboard on the finer details, in the end I found myself skimming over the hedge fund sections without grasping their full meaning. Presents an interesting view point of a few somewhat typical modern day people. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ted | 1/27/2014

    " I still couldn't decide whether I liked it after I'd finished the thing. I couldn't decide if it was a really chilling or really naff portrait of modern London. Some of the characters were a bit weak. Sort of reminded me a bit of Alan Holinhgurt's The Line of Beauty but nowhere near as good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 1/24/2014

    " good read about forces at work in modern London and tying together of various characters "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ben Wardle | 1/18/2014

    " After the initial excitement of reading a book about contemporary London with lots of characters whose individual stories intertwine, I began to feel restless. What was irking me, why was I not enjoying this book which surely ticks all my boxes? Ah, that was it: nothing was happening! I finished this book out of pure spite. Of the two recent books about London which mark time in their titles, David Nicholls' book is the clear winner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garth | 1/12/2014

    " A loosely-connected group of Londoners are drawn together through a number of converging story lines. Believable (if not all likable) characters and interesting sub-plots made for a good read even while I thought the ending could have been stronger. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Richard Mulligan | 12/31/2013

    " Brilliant. Mesmerising. I loved this - so many great characters, each with their own desires, weaknesses etc. the stories intertwine, but would be strong enough to stand alone as well. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Angela | 12/22/2013

    " Well written but after I read it I thought 'Is that it?'. Characters are stereotypical and nothing much really happens. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Murray Calder | 12/22/2013

    " He's not so good at the comedy to be honest. The hedge fund horror at the centre of the story seems hideously plausible though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jerry Hall | 12/15/2013

    " Quite enjoyed this book and some interesting ideas. Could visualize London and recognise it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gill Balfour | 11/29/2013

    " A contemporary horror story, that's what I think anyway. It brings to life the horror that goes on behind the scenes in the banking world. Fantastic characterisation, satire at its best. At times it's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. Loved it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Martyn Morgan | 11/29/2013

    " Ultimately a pointless read. The build up fools the reader into thinking they're in for a big finish. In the end it's all fart and no shit, well actually maybe rather too much shit to be honest. Leave it on the shelf. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott Jeffe | 5/19/2013

    " Everyone said this book was a "tour de force" or was "hauntingly honest". It took me well more than 100 pages and I kept thinking maybe I ought to put it down but something about the was Faulks rolled out the second half made me unable to put it down. Give it a chance and keep reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amrit | 11/1/2012

    " At first I was suspect - a typical book with lots of vantage points. But I really got into it and liked it a lot. Good perspectives on global banking, fundamentalism, living in fantasies - whether psychotic or self-imposed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kris McCabe | 10/9/2012

    " I am a fan of Charles Dickens, so it was no surprise I enjoyed this novel. Lots of satire, social commentary. The dinner scene is bitingly funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maria Boardman | 7/15/2012

    " Good read but a bit heavy on the workings of the financial world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linden | 8/6/2011

    " Totally absorbing novel about the beginning of the banking crisis, terrorism, and the culture of the 2000's. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Leslie | 7/21/2011

    " It promised so much. Delivered so little. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Hayley | 5/22/2011

    " Having read Birdsong which is a favorite of mine I was disapointed with A Week In December. Too many characters and too confusing to make sense. I lost interest half way through which says it all.. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Fatma | 4/25/2011

    " I tried so hard to finish this book. it was promising at the begining but it was too slow for me . so I was bored by page 101 and stopped . "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sarah | 4/18/2011

    " I started with high expectations which were drowned pretty early on. I ploughed through hoping for a satisfying conclusion but found nothing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 4/11/2011

    " I didn't enjoy this - it was supposed to be "hilarious" according to the back page blurb, but any humour or even satire passed me by completely. Disjointed and confusing at times. "

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About the Author
Author Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks’ six previous novels include Birdsong (1993), Charlotte Gray (2000), The Girl at the Lion d’Or (1989), and On Green Dolphin Street (2001). He is also the author of a biographical study, The Fatal Englishman (1996). He lives in London, is married, and has two sons and a daughter.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with more than fifty Earphones Awards. He has won the prestigious Audie Awards numerous times and was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.