Clare Lowdon’s novel is a sharp, sometimes funny but always bracingly honest look at the lives of contemporary young Londoners who below the surface are having a lot less fun than it seems. Tamsin, a failed concert pianist, has an adoring boyfriend but she isn’t sure she if that is what she actually wants. Chris, a soon to be deployed soldier, can’t forget about Tamsin even though they met, only briefly, years ago. And Callum, the adoring boyfriend, likes (but doesn’t trust) Chris and is battling with a number of serious demons of his own. Each of the characters is well observed and has a fundamentally flaw and reading the book is a bit like watching a slow motion crash; that even though you have a pretty good idea how it’s going to end up you simply cannot stop looking. That’s what makes the title, Left of the Bang, so apt as it is a military term for the build up to an explosion. In short, well written, hard to put down but be prepared for the kick from the brutal honesty.
'An unflinchingly honest portrayal of Londoner life with great empathy, style and humour ...A Vanity Fair of our times ...Tamsin Jarvis will resonate long after the final page is turned.' Stylist Daringly, radically honest and very, very funny, this is the best novel yet about the 'lost generation' of young Londoners today. Left of the bang: a military term for the build-up to an explosion. For failing concert pianist Tamsin Jarvis, the pressure is mounting. She thought she was happy with her adoring schoolteacher boyfriend Callum, but when Chris comes into their lives, that starts to change. In a few months Chris will be gone, leaving for his first tour of Afghanistan. Nothing seems to be working out the way Tamsin wants it to - in fact, she's not even sure what it is she wants. With sharp, satirical humour, unparalleled social observation, extreme sexual honesty and great empathy, Claire Lowdon has captured the foibles, hopes and difficulties that characterise a strata of young London today. A funny, unflinching insider's view on the generation born in the 1980s - who are often having much less fun than it seems - this is a Vanity Fair for our times.
Closing date: 04/07/2018
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
'An unflinchingly honest portrayal of Londoner life that reflects the complexities of navigating modern society with great empathy, style and humour ... This book has been dubbed a Vanity Fair of our times and it's a fair comparison ... It is social observation at its very best with characters that are both painfully honest but also hilarious in their satirical humour ... Tamsin Jarvis will resonate long after the final page is turned'
, **** 'A remarkably compelling and shrewd look at the way we live now. Clear-eyed, audacious and disarmingly honest
'An unsparing and brilliantly realised novel ... It's hard to believe that this is Lowdon's first novel, so assured is her satire and so penetrating the gaze she turns on her posh twentysomething's metropolitan milieu ... Her cast get uncomfortably under your skin, making Lowdon's incendiary denouement real read-between-your-fingers stuff'
'Deeply impressive and accomplished ... Lowdon charts the lives of a group of 20-somethings in London with sharpness and precision, with humour and insight, and with generous helpings of humanity ... The writing is razor-sharp, excruciating in its honesty ... and tempted this reader, upon finishing, to begin again from page one ... A piece of fiction that is flawless'
'Write what you know, they say. Yet it's a clever author who does just that and succeeds in offering insight ... Lowdon takes time with the hopes and fears of each one, conjuring up a tension that builds painfully slowly ... Lowdon uses sex to show the characters'
... A smart and sober pronouncement on consequence
'The definitive novel of a generation of Londoners. So involved did I become in their lives, so closely did I feel I knew them, that the note of disquiet that carries through the pages like the eerie mewl of a tuning fork absolutely levelled me when finally it reached its full glass-shattering resonance three-quarters of the way through'
Publication date: 19/05/2016
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/06/2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
|Publication date:||19th May 2016|
|Publisher:||Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Claire Lowdon read English at Oxford and is the Assistant Editor of Arete. She has written for Arete, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, the Observer and The Sunday Times.More About Claire Lowdon