This was one of my Father's Day gifts from my daughter. I've read a couple of this authors works before - A Week in December which was well written with some great characters, however the postponement of its release due to Mr Faulks being engaged to write a "new" James Bond novel meant it came out after the 2008 market crash, if it had come out straight after he'd originally written it, it would have appeared more stunning in its predictions. However last year I then read Birdsong - frankly brilliant. If you saw the recent BBC dramatisation you sadly missed out, there was at least a 3rd of the story missing in that, there is a view from modern Britain in the book completely missed out. Again the characterisations were excellent and great writing of a complex plot and interweaving of people's lives and emotions etc.
This book is better again! Simply one of the best books I've ever read I think. Strong praise indeed from me. Why? Well this is a journal written by Mike Engelby who takes you through his life, from his childhood with his poor mother and father, his father's early death and his move to a public school on a scholarship then to Cambridge. Engleby is clearly an extremely bright person with incredible memory for detail... hmm and autistic savant? Maybe - but we are seeing this through his eyes not of others looking in. Whilst at Cambridge a girl student who he admires a lot disappears and this moment defines in the end his whole life.
This isn't a happy go lucky good feel story - it is dark, it deals with violence, bullying, abuse and above all mental illness. But it is a story of amazing interest and allows you a glimmer of a view into a mind we'd rarely get to know.
I do thoroughly recommend this with a full two thumbs up and a grin on the FITUBRS but be warned this isn't a book if you are squeamish about how some humans treat others badly.