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This Bleeding City

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  239 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Charlie Wales left Edinburgh University with dreams of the high-life. Six months later, he is marooned in London, unemployed and living a dreary existence in a house he shares with the girl he loves (but who no longer loves him). Finally securing a job at
Silverbirch — a hedge-fund based in Mayfair, he begins to work in the brutal and remorseless world of high finance.

Paperback, 335 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Faber & Faber (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  239 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
I was lucky to get my copy of 'This Bleeding City' from the author himself. Mr Preston was giving an early morning kind of a lecture in a forest at the end of the road festival in Wiltshire. It was raining, I didn't know him, but liked the way he talked about his book and how he read a few fragments for us, early reading birds in the woods. Afterwards mr Preston simply asked if anyone was interested in a copy. I rose my hand, and walked back to the festival site carrying a new book (with a littl ...more
Dec 21, 2011 rated it liked it
It's very well written, but being Preston's debut, it does get a bit clumsy at times. Also, the protagonist is not very amicable. In fact, most of the characters aren't, and those who are somehow screwed over by either the protagonist or terrible circumstances. I do understand that the protagonist is an anti-hero. He's not supposed to be liked, but still...

Preston obviously draws inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald, and particularly 'The Great Gatsby'.

I felt sorry for the characters, particula
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
'If you liked "Bright Lights, Big City", you'll love this' said the wrapper around this novel, which sat on top of a pile in an airport book shop. That set off a round of predictions. The novel will be about bright young things snorting and pilling around London. Someone has vaguely literary yearnings and endless complaints about his job, whose details will be traced rather than described. Despair will be laid on with a bucket. On some level, furthermore, the lead character will embrace the burn ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british, economy
This is a dark depressing novel about working in the City (or of a London) in the financial sector which I found pretty difficult to put down because the story intrigued me throughout. Maybe because I myself do not like working and felt a strong affection for the plot? The book left me with a pretty negative profile of city traders highlighting the huge sacrifices they have to make in order to follow their materialistic dreams. The protagonist is portrayed as a stereotype trader who is ambitious ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this book sooo depressing, but at the same time very realistic and well written.
Maybe the story is a bit discounted, and you already sort of guess since the beginning that is not going to end well; even though you hope a bit that it will turn unexpectedly positive before the end.
I thinks it is easy though to identify yourself with Charlie, who represents all the fears and insecurities that we all have at the beginning of the adulthood, but also the hope that we are going to make it and b
Polly Courtney
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a fellow ex-City banker, I was really keen to get my hands on this. It didn't disappoint. Beautifully written and with a carefully crafted storyline, I related to the characters instantly.

Whether non-City evacuees would enjoy this I'm not sure (which goes for most City books, including my own); I think anyone who has worked in a high-pressure environment would relate, and there's plenty to like outside 'the office' in here.
Jon White
Dec 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
Very depressing book. I didn't care about the characters at all.
I met the author and questioned him about the reality of the book and how he based his characters. To be fair, he took the criticism well. No-one in my library book club liked the book.
Peter Lange
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The saddest book I can remember to have ever read. Very good though!
Ineke van Mackelenbergh
Fast--paced well-written insight into City hi-money - but sad to realize what materialism can do and how it can pervert good sense.

Quite depressing, but it was the only way to avoid those phony finales that heat your heart but does not leave you with anything to learn. I understand the criticism about the clumsy writing style, but if one is able to emphasise with the characters - which are not likeable, but the situations they live are more or less common for every western citizen, so one shall recognise theirselves in this story, at some degree - then it's not a noticeable issue.
The last part is a bit rushed, but over
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Was not cheered by previous review, including those of friends but I found it quite gripping. Read it fast because I really wanted to discover the who why what from the first pages. Odd phrases seem forced, like à first time try hard novelist but all in all I really enjoyed it even though I do agree that the characters are just not authentic/likeable.
Caroline Mather
May 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Struggled with this & broke off half way through. Think it's a 1st Novel, I found it a long winded & clumsy read ...more
Cameron McNiff
Oct 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I ended up giving up on this read, it was too difficult to get into, I just couldn't engage with the story or characters enough to make me keep on reading. ...more
David Hebblethwaite
Mar 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This Bleeding City is one of those novels with which you can tell roughly where it’s heading more or less from the outset – not because of any clumsiness on the author’s part, but because the story is so archetypal: young man goes off to seek his fortune, and discovers that what he thought he wanted wasn’t necessarily so great after all. The context for this particular telling of that story is the City of London (where Alex Preston himself works) in the run-up to the recent financial crisis.

To f
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
While this book has a few nice features - a clever title, a prologue that draws you in (though it pretty much telegraphs the whole plot of the book) it is really rather dire and a chore to read. The author seems to have taken every metaphor he could find, gilded with some extra adjectives and whacked them into his story. The plot - boy from average background sells his soul to get the finer things in life (including a girl who is 'too good for him') but discovers in the end that of course that i ...more
Monica Co
May 27, 2012 rated it liked it
This book belongs to the tradition of fiction that came out after the big 2008 financial crisis.
Set in the London City, it is the story of a young graduate who climbs the ranks of a big investment firm, but at the same time loses touch with the real life values. Driven by greed and ambition, he realises his mistake when it is to late; then he simply becomes what he was meant to be from the beginning.
Despite finding the novel a bit immature and somehow clichéd, I liked how Preston ends the story;
Dennis Thompson
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Felt almost a bit like an autobiography in that it really wasn't that great a story. I suppose you could argue that it is a good thing that the story seemed real but for me fiction should have some element of escapism and an interesting story. Set during the period 2005-2009 or so mainly in London during the financial crisis. ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Liked it. I could make quite a few parralells with my own life and deliberations. Managed to extract the main idea, which I found quite useful. Rethought some of my persuasions on the purpose of being and on perception of the surrounding reality. To add, I am absolutely not a fan of modern literature.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Soapy novel that centres on a man working in the city as a stockbroker, or analyst or something, during the period leading up to and after the GFC. The novel starts with a group of friends in University in Edinburgh, and then leads on to a series of incestuous relationships between them. The scenes in the trading house are pretty well archetypal.
Dmitry Lovermann
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-editions
A agree that story line is not one of the most interesting I've ever seen, but I liked the way it was written: hesitant young boy with his own imperfectness, - just the same as most of young graduated professionals. I liked Preston's narration style. ...more
Layla Rohan
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretty gritty but a good look into the world of banking/finance and how the world revolves around people who clearly have no clue. Scary to think this could be going on behind our backs. Nothing but doom and gloom though.
Saif Hasan
Aug 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
An extremely clumsy book. Too cluttered. No scope for the emotional spaces to even out. Predictable right from word one.

Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
WHAT a final sentence.
Andreia Tavares
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very Interesting :)
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Alex Preston was born in 1979. He is an award-winning author and journalist who appears regularly on BBC television and radio. He writes for GQ, Harper's Bazaar and Town & Country Magazine as well as for the Observer's New Review. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Kent and regular Guardian Masterclasses. ...more

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