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The Resource Engleby : a novel, Sebastian Faulks

Engleby : a novel, Sebastian Faulks

Label
Engleby : a novel
Title
Engleby
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Sebastian Faulks
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • "I don't find life unbearably grave. I find it almost intolerably frivolous," says Brit Mike Engleby, the smart social misfit who narrates Faulks' new novel. The story follows Engleby through adolescence in the 1970s, when he's frequent fodder for bullies (the kind that put their victim's head in the toilet, then repeatedly flush). He fares a bit better at university, particularly after he makes the acquaintance of a lovely coed named Jennifer. Alas, romantic interest soon turns to obsession, and when Jennifer goes missing, Engleby becomes a suspect. The case remains unsolved for more than a dozen years, during which time Engleby finds a girlfriend and establishes himself as a journalist. When Jennifer's remains are finally discovered, memories begin to surface that make Engleby question whether he might have been responsible for the poor girl's demise. Faulks, the author of numerous well-received literary novels (including On Green Dolphin Street, 2002), renders luminous prose, but this time it gets lost amid a rambling tale told by a narcissist with little of consequence to say. A disappointment from a talented writer, but still of interest to Faulks' followers. -- Block, Allison (Reviewed 08-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 103, number 22, p32)
  • /* Starred Review */ British bestseller Faulks’s latest (after Human Traces ) comprises the dark confessional of Mike Engleby, an intelligent but strange university student suspected in a woman’s disappearance. His journal-like account of his life, which begins in the turbulent 1970s and extends to 2006, includes day-to-day accounts of college life, pontifications on time, politics and the nature of thought, and flashbacks to his childhood—particularly the years he spent as a scholarship student at the exclusive Chatfield, where he was taunted and abused by his classmates (they, among other things, called him “Toilet”). As the journal progresses, his obsession with university student Jennifer Arkland deepens: he reads her mail, sits in on her classes, joins her political society and becomes involved in her student film. When Jennifer disappears after a party and is presumed dead, Mike finds himself under police investigation. The case remains open for over a decade, and Mike continues on with his life, but Jen is never far from his thoughts, and as he continues to return in his mind to Jen’s disappearance, he reveals more about that night and about himself. Though sometimes heavy with the tropes of self-deception and misdirection, this is a compelling psychological portrait of a man who is at once profoundly disturbed and wryly funny. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed July 16, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 28, p142)
  • And now for something completely different: fans of Faulks's highly acclaimed "Birdsong" trilogy depart wartime Europe for a historical tour through the much more recent past, guided by the compellingly creepy character of Michael Engleby. Academically gifted but socially inept, Engleby comes by his reserve honestly, having suffered childhood abuse at home and then been the victim of the particularly vicious form of bullying perfected by English public school boys. Engleby develops survival skills with a heavy dependency on alcohol and drugs. At Cambridge, without a network of his own friends, he imagines himself in a relationship with popular Jennifer Arkland and insinuates himself into the fringes of her crowd. When she goes missing, Engleby suffers from memory lapses so that his past is as much a mystery to himself as it is to the reader. He eventually lands a successful career in journalism, moves in with a colleague, and experiences a brief period of contentment. But old demons resurface when Jennifer's body turns up and the past begins to encroach. This gripping tour de force is highly recommended.—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. --Barbara Love (Reviewed August 15, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 13, p67)
  • The gifted British Faulks (Human Traces, 2006, etc.) rings changes on the untrustworthy narrator technique with this titillating, ultimately engrossing study of a loner with a dark past. Mike Engleby is at Cambridge University in 1973, a student from a poor background on a full scholarship. As he tells us his story, often engagingly (his vignettes of the faculty are razor-sharp), it becomes clear he keeps to himself, whether he's drinking, doing drugs or driving around country villages. But the name of one fellow student keeps coming up: Jennifer Arkland. He goes to lectures with her and later, as one of the crew, participates in an experimental student film in Ireland; Jennifer has a lead role. However, when he steals a letter she's written to her parents, he realizes he's just a footnote in her life, a joke. Mike started stealing at Chatfield, the terrifying private boarding school he attended, also on scholarship; it boosted his "morale," which needed boosting after incessant vicious bullying by older boys and beatings by his father. What's really chilling, though, is Mike's casual admission that in time he became a vicious bully himself. Back in Cambridge, the big news is that Jennifer has disappeared. The police search Mike's rooms, but fail to discover Jennifer's diary, Mike's latest theft. Might Mike have "stolen" Jennifer? Possibly, but it's a big leap from obsession to abduction, though he's clearly maladjusted, unlike Jennifer (the marvelous diary entries reveal a radiantly happy, normal young woman). Life goes on, Jennifer is not found and Mike eventually becomes a successful journalist in London. Then the past returns, and it is devastating. If Mike has not been leveling with us, it's because of involuntary memory loss. We finally learn the gripping truth about what happened in Cambridge, even as we ponder the nature of the self. Faulks knows exactly how to keep the reader off-balance in this deft, funny, scary combination of suspense and psychic exploration. (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
181258
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Faulks, Sebastian
Index
no index present
LC call number
PR6056.A89
LC item number
E54 2007
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Self-perception
  • England
Label
Engleby : a novel, Sebastian Faulks
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
25 cm.
Extent
319 p.
Isbn
9780385524056
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2007016044
System control number
  • (Sirsi) o123377352
  • (Sirsi) o123377352
  • (OCoLC)123377352
Label
Engleby : a novel, Sebastian Faulks
Publication
Dimensions
25 cm.
Extent
319 p.
Isbn
9780385524056
Isbn Type
(hbk.)
Lccn
2007016044
System control number
  • (Sirsi) o123377352
  • (Sirsi) o123377352
  • (OCoLC)123377352

Library Locations

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      33.923975 -84.374292
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