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In Real Life by Chris Killen

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Shifting between 2004 and 2014 this concerns a uniformly miserable group of people who seem to have more or less given up on life, can’t make decisions and have nothing and no-one good in their lives. The three central characters were friends, now they have drifted. This is how they reconnect. It’s almost too raw, too much like ‘real life’, too dark to be really funny, too sad and certainly easy for probably a whole bunch of people to relate to. Well written and clever, it shows the pitfalls of social media and how actually connecting with reality is a tricky business.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


In Real Life by Chris Killen

Still friends a decade on? What are the chances? For a while, Ian, Lauren and Paul shared the same friends, the same university, the same dreams and the same potential. Ten years on they are worlds apart. Call centres, charity shops and bedrooms that smell like cabbage were never part of the plan. The real world doesn't look quite like any of them imagined. But when Lauren, in a moment of nostalgia, cracks open a long-forgotten Hotmail account, she comes face to face with the people these three friends used to be ...For two of them it will mean a new beginning to an old love story. Hilarious and heart-breaking, In Real Life paints a searingly honest portrait of a generation and captures a world where human connection is easier than ever before but where relationships remain just as tricky.


'Very funny and wonderfully charming. Chris Killen writes with an understated beauty about things like Tesco Meal Deals and the internet and hospitals and Babybels and the distance between people. In Real Life is a book about love and failed dreams that is full of truth and tenderness' -- MATT HAIG, author of The Humans

'Brilliantly insightful, funny, sad, brave and true - this book will make you laugh even in the face of your own (offline) mortality. Better yet, it will make you want to leave Facebook. Again' -- EMMA JANE UNSWORTH, author of Animals

'In Real Life is brilliantly observed, deftly written, wonderful, sad, funny and totally real' -- JOSIE LONG

'Masterly, deeply felt and very funny ... Chris Killen writes the contemporary with a deftness, truth and unassuming poise that sets him apart and makes him important' -- JOE STRETCH, author of The Adult

About the Author

Chris Killen was born in 1981. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester and his debut novel, The Bird Room was published by Canongate in 2009. Wizard's Way, a film he co-wrote, produced and starred in won the Best Comedy Feature award at London Independent Film Festival, and the Discovery Award at LOCO. Remake rights have been acquired by Jack Black. He currently lives in Manchester.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th January 2015


Chris Killen

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Canongate Books Ltd


368 pages


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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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