Book Talk: Faulks tackles extremism, financial crisis

Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:46am EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British author Sebastian Faulks does not shy away from big themes in his latest novel "A Week In December," which had its U.S. release earlier this month on the Doubleday imprint.

The book, which won warm reviews in Britain for its scope and ambition, is a "state-of-Britain" story tackling religious extremism, the financial crisis and the internet generation who live their lives as much online as in the real world.

It also explores mental illness, drug abuse and broken families and, in some of its most engaging passages, satirizes the literary world that Faulks is most familiar with.

Faulks, author of "Birdsong" and James Bond novel "Devil May Care," spoke to Reuters about A Week In December:

Q: Your novel is coming out in the United States, but is it too London-centric to work for American audiences?

A: "London is one of the main characters of the book and it was always planned that would the case (but) I don't think American readers are so parochial that they would not be interested in one city, particularly because many of the themes are common to both Britain and America."

Q: Most authors would have attempted to write about one of this book's main themes rather than all of them in one story. Why did you decide to write so broadly?

A: "It is a very ambitious book and of course it was a big challenge to do but I enjoy big challenges. Although it's true there are lots of different areas of interest in the book, they are all united by one theme and that theme is how far people have become detached from real life and how much people prefer to live in virtual reality. Unless I had found that one unifying thought I would not have undertaken so many different stories."   Continued...