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And September's Sebastian Faulks novel is....A WEEK IN DECEMBER (discussion 8pm, Thurs 30 September)

(104 Posts)
TillyBookClub Tue 14-Sep-10 08:31:22

September's poll is now closed and we have our winner: A WEEK IN DECEMBER steamed ahead with 49 votes, putting BIRDSONG in second place with 41.

Sebastian will join us for discussion night on Thursday 30 September, kicking off at 8pm and finishing at around 9.30pm.

We also have two tickets to give away for the London theatre production of BIRDSONG - we'll pick a name out of a hat at the end of the evening.

For those that missed it, here were the choices and the September poll results.

And for anyone new to Bookclub, here is how it works.

yUMMYmUMMYb Fri 17-Sep-10 18:11:01

Just to say that i have just been in Tesco and they have this book on their buy one get one free offer. Works out at £4 per book, i also managed to get an easy reading Jodi Picoult. Looking forward to the discussion.

Medee Sun 26-Sep-10 23:07:59

just read this on holiday, shall be interested to see how the discussion goes.

(sainsbury's also has it on a 2 for £7 offer)

TillyBookClub Mon 27-Sep-10 17:03:04

Hope everyone's got their mitts on a copy...

As usual, we're sending a few questions over in advance so that the chat can kick off immediately, so please do pop one or two up here and Sebastian will answer those first. And don't forget they can be about any aspect of his career, or any of his books, so don't hesitate (even if you're only halfway through our bookclub winner...)

manfrom Wed 29-Sep-10 10:34:46

Here's a question seeing as no-one else has posted one.

I loved "A week in December."

My question is about mental illness - and its treatment. It features quite heavily in your recent books. What is it that draws you towards this theme? And how do you research it?

TillyBookClub Wed 29-Sep-10 11:27:27

Thanks manfrom, I'll pass it on to Sebastian now.
Just a quick reminder to everyone to put any advance q's here today...

Looking forward to tomorrow, see you at 8.

yUMMYmUMMYb Wed 29-Sep-10 11:34:29

I have not quite finished the book yet, have the final day to read before tomorrow.
I am really enjoying it so far, particularly love the concept of how the characters lives link.
My question is similar to manfrom. The detail in the book is exceptional and lots of it is very technical knowledge, for example around financial services. How long did it take to research and then write?
Sure i will have further questions once i have finished reading.

Wheelybug Wed 29-Sep-10 12:42:02

I finished the book a couple of days ago and really enjoyed it although felt I'd maybe missed something at the end so will look forward to being enlightened during the discussions.

I too was going to ask about the research that went into it - there seems to be a lot of different areas which have been thoroughly researched. So I too would be interested tohear about this.

I had another question too but can't remember it so will be back later !

champagnesupernova Wed 29-Sep-10 18:40:03

<marking place>

NoahAndTheWhale Wed 29-Sep-10 21:09:36

Saw this thread and went out and bought the book this afternoon So probably won't have finished by tomorrow evening, but children are at school all day so maybe I will just sit and read grin.

ornamentalcabbage Thu 30-Sep-10 00:41:58

Great, marking my place too.

onadietcokebreak Thu 30-Sep-10 09:05:44

<marking place even though I have only managed about 10 pages in 2 weeks blush>

thekidsmom Thu 30-Sep-10 09:48:56

Forgive my ignorance but how do I join in?

I bought (and read!) the book but I don't know how to 'do' the technology bit. Do I just log on to this thread at 8 oclock tonight and bingo! I'll see the posts live?

NoahAndTheWhale Thu 30-Sep-10 10:53:55

That will be how it works smile.

Erm I have read one page blush.

Housework/mumsnet/book <considers>

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 30-Sep-10 11:29:43

NoahAndTheWhale - book, book, book!!!

And yes, thekidsmom, just log in as normal and post as normal on this thread.

redandgreen Thu 30-Sep-10 15:39:17

I haven't managed to finish it yet, very much enjoying it.

Not sure I want to hang around tonight because I haven't quite finished (and am not really looking forward to finishing, I would be happy if it were twice as long) and don't want spoilers but I do have a question.

Why did you chose to use made-up versions of things like Facebook, Big Brother, bands, celebrities, computer games, etc?

I can think of loads of possible reasons but am wondering if there was one in particular.

grandmabet Thu 30-Sep-10 16:30:12

I loved the book but had to skip some of the banking and football stuff. And what is it with the cyclist with no lights who kept appearing - did I miss something there? And did you know what the ending was going to be when you started writing in 2005 - did you see the banking crisis coming and if so, are you in the right job?

hocuspontas Thu 30-Sep-10 17:31:23

I'm torn. I'm only up to 'Monday' and don't want to know what happens later! But I do want to talk to SF but I don't have any questions yet! Will bookmark for later I think. Enjoy the discussion everyone.

SebastianFaulks Thu 30-Sep-10 17:34:59


tvaerialmagpiebin Thu 30-Sep-10 18:20:33

I skipped some of the finance 'n' footie too. But I have never read a SF book that I didn't like, although sometimes I really take agin some of his characters, which I think shows how well-drawn they are. My absolute favourite is Charlotte Gray, which I could read and re-read forever. And I loved Engleby, too.

I would like to ask SF what he thinks of film adaptations of books, I loved Cate Blanchett as Charlotte Gray because she fitted in with how Charlotte was in my head. But there have been film adaptations (not of SF) that have made me weep.

How do authors feel? are they often asked to write the screenplay?

PotKettleBlack Thu 30-Sep-10 18:25:23

Hello Sebastian, thanks for coming!

I'm new to bookclub so hope no-one minds me barging in.

I haven't read your new book but have read everything else (I think!) and love your work. Like many people I found you through the Birdsong trilogy, and had you down as a war author who could write exception characters. Then I found On Green Dolphin Street (which made me cry a lot)- again amazing characterization but a big chance in country, period, background.

However I pretty much fell at the hurdle that was Human Traces and I have to admit to having skipped large parts of the more detailed sections - you seemed to have got very into a certain subject and wanted to get down on paper everything you knew. Did you look back at that book and wish you had had a more ruthless editor? Or do you stand by every word?

PotKettleBlack Thu 30-Sep-10 18:26:35

argh -



TillyBookClub Thu 30-Sep-10 19:56:43

Evening everyone

Champing at the bit to start, just want to remind anyone who may not have finished A Week In December all that all questions (about previous books, writing life, etc) are welcome, don't hold back.

So... without further ado, I'm thrilled to introduce our Author of the Month, Sebastian Faulks.

Sebastian, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight. I thought we might kick off with a few of the first advance questions, and then I'll leave it to you:

yummymummyb: The detail in the book is exceptional and lots of it is very technical knowledge, for example around financial services. How long did it take to research and then write?

manfrom: My question is about mental illness - and its treatment. It features quite heavily in your recent books. What is it that draws you towards this theme? And how do you research it?

(and one from me)
TillyBookclub: As many reviewers pointed out, A Week in December is very much a contemporary, state-of-the-nation novel, in contrast to your previous books set in the past. Do you believe novelists have a duty to grapple with the present, to show the way the world really works now?

SebastianFaulks Thu 30-Sep-10 20:00:23

To Yummymummyb:

The book came out in September 2009. I began reseraching in about 2005. I wanted it to be bang up to the minute but things in the finanical world moved very fast. It was at first meant to be about the boom, but then everything went bust and I decided to set it in Dec 2007 which was the last time any half sane person could still think the boom would carry on. I didn’t know much about finance, but I was aware that investment bankers neither banked nor invested. They just gambled. The utter uselessnessof most of what they do cannot be overstated. It is a tragedy that they conned Blair, Brown and so on into thinking they were admirable, to extent that poor Brown said when he opened Lehman Bothers London office, ‘What you have done for the City of London I hope to do for the British economy.’
And he did. He bankrupted it.
Bankers like to pretend that mere mortals can’t understand what they do. That is how they maintian the mystique. But most of it is very easy to understand. They gamble. They keep the winnings with minimal tax and if they lose you and I and Mrs Bloggs with her small savings pick up the tab. Not good. It is the greatest con trick ever perpetrated on the British public.
In all it took about three years to research and write. I made it much shorter than I first intended by squeezing it down into a week. But that was a good decision.
By the way, please forgive my awful typing. A long day.

SebastianFaulks Thu 30-Sep-10 20:01:15

To manfrom:

Mental illness is just the most interesting thing because we are the only creatures to suffer from it. Dogs don’t hear the vocies of other dogs loud in their ears telling them what to do. If we could undertand why one in 100 people is psychotic, broken, we would understand a great deal more about what makes us human, different from other creatures. I did a lot of research for Human Traces and it is all documented at the back of that book.

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