Edward Docx’s second novel, Self Help, which appeared on this year’s Booker longlist, is about the Glovers, an Anglo-Russian family. Twins Gabriel and Isabella are thirty-two and, while intelligent, are trapped in unsatisfactory jobs. Isabella works in New York for a media agency, while Gabriel, based in London, edits Self-Help!, a fatuous magazine for the depressed. They are estranged from their father, Nicholas, a gifted, idle bully who inherited massively and now lives in Paris with his fine art and his catamite, Alessandro.
Following the death of their mother at her St Petersburg home, Gabriel and Isabella evaluate their lives. Isabella leaves both her job and her immature boyfriend and returns to England. Gabriel, involved in a triangular relationship and filled with hatred for Nicholas, is soon as depressed as the readership of