Like his first novel, the prize-winning London and the South-East, David Szalay’s third book has the quality of a ‘cut and shut’, one of those dodgy motors that turns out to be two half-cars welded together. The thing about cut and shuts is that while they start fine and initially run smoothly, it doesn’t take long for the wheels to come off.
This almost happened in London and the South-East. An initially compelling novel about a beer-slicked fag ash of an existence in the transient nether regions of media sales, it abruptly turned into a slow-burning revenge fantasy involving bulk orders of soft fruits. That the novel managed to overcome