His back story is revealed — poor dull family, no friends, beaten by his father, then a scholarship to a Public School where things got seriously bad. He emerges with no self pity and no empathy or pity for others, other people are there to be used - and judged wanting by his superior self.
He is a loner and content to be. He is clever but socially inept, has photographic recall but also complete lapses of memory. Drugs and alcohol enable him to function day to day. During the first half of the book nothing much happens, he follows Jen about, hovers round the edge of her set. She is ultra normal, bright, happy and well adjusted - everything Mike isn't.
The inside of an outsider's mind - Telegraph
She disappears one night and is never seen again. In most books that would be the plot twist that drives the story forwards.
Not here though. That's not the story at all. Mike heads to London, gets a job as a journalist and forms a relationship.
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He gets a whiff of the existence of happiness, something just out of reach. Here at last we arrive at the nub and purpose of the book Psycho-analysts are employed to study and treat Mike. Mike studies and analyses the analysts - and himself — and Homo sapiens in his innate detached way.
Engleby by Sebastian Faulks.
There are no explanations or revelations, nothing as simple as cause and effect, but a range of hints and theories and possibilities that may explain Mike. He can live inside his own criteria of normal and manipulate his picture of the world however he wishes. I should just add that this is a comedy, a black farce, the joke turning on Mike's blundering, his honesty and his strangeness as tries to function in a society he never understands. Faulks is a fine writer, he tells his story with skill and confidence in his reader -confident to show with the merest glimpse rather than tell.
Last edited by prendrelemick; at AM.
Sounds good Mick. I may give him a whirl as I've not read any of his stuff.
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Good review. Originally Posted by Paulclem. Originally Posted by prendrelemick. Forum Reading Challenges. Replies: 6 Last Post: , PM. All times are GMT His first novel, A Trick of the Light , was published in It's also compulsively readable. A heartwarming memoir of motherhood and adoption told through an African American lens.
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The inside of an outsider's mind
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