Laurie's Reviews > Engleby

Engleby by Sebastian Faulks
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Jul 29, 2011


A unique book, sort of as if "Lucky Jim" were actually a murderer. It's also a complex book, starting out as the story of an intelligent but creepy student who stalks a pretty classmate. He becomes a reasonably competent journalist, interviews famous people, moves in with his girlfriend. Then the book changes course in a jolting way, and all becomes clear--or does it? We're in the mind of an extremely unreliable narrator, so we can only choose the version we believe. Faulks is an exquisite writer, and I only lost heart while I was getting used to Engleby's creepiness. Then, at the turning point mentioned above, I felt his empathy for this brilliant but unattractive man, and I was back on board again. I loved his political interviews, even if they're all in the character's head. There is a guilty pleasure to be had at the expense of prison psychologists and police detectives, and a lot of thoughts on music and philosophy and the destructive UK class system. I will search out more of his fiction, hoping for equal brilliance!
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