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Left of the Bang by Claire Lowdon
  

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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.

Reader Reviews

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.

  • Pauline Braisher - 'This is a story of love, lies and loss told through the relationships of the four leading characters.'
  • Joy Bosworth - 'This starts one way but veers to become a very different book.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Clever observation of human behaviour, sensitive portrayal of sexual relationships and awakenings, all delivered against a back drop of contemporary Britain.   Great read.'
  • Judi Davies - 'The title and 'blurb' is misleading with this book. Very little is made of the military suggestion of 'Left of the Bang' and I was disappointed with the book.'
  • Ann Alderton - 'A warm, engaging and compelling portrayal of the lives of a group of 21st century twenty-somethings.'
  • Phyllis Avery - 'Aptly titled, this novel does indeed take characters through minefield after minefield of relationship intrigues. A gripping read with characters one becomes emotionally invested in immediately.'
  • Cathy Small - 'A very honest view into the lives of the characters that start to become your friends as the story unfolds through the relationship of Tasmin and Callum.'
  • Val Rowe - 'Beautifully crafted characters contribute a sense of realism to this 'unputdownable' novel.'
  • Neil Williams - 'Promised much but ultimately disappointed.'
  • Katie Hoare - 'Left of The Bang shows that the complexities of modern London living, the hopes, dreams and aspirations of each of the individuals, and also the expectations of each other within a relationship in the 21st century.'
  • Farah Alam - 'Overall, I quite like this book because it is very realistic in regards to the problems surrounding the characters.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'Relationship ups and downs, friendships and secrets all make this a great story that is impossible to put down.'
  • Suzanne Marsh  - 'This is a brilliant story with lots of thing happening that readers won't know about unless you buy this brilliant novel.'  

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Synopsis

Left of the Bang by Claire Lowdon

'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.

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'
Stylist

, **** 'A remarkably compelling and shrewd look at the way we live now. Clear-eyed, audacious and disarmingly honest
William Boyd

'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'
Daily Mail

'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'
Irish Times

'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'
real selves

... A smart and sober pronouncement on consequence
The Times

'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'
Gavin Corbett

About the Author

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th May 2016

Author

Claire Lowdon

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Publisher

Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
352 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780008102166

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