English Settlement

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Pan Macmillan, Mar 1, 2012 - Fiction - 312 pages
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Nervously monitored from a twelfth-floor eyrie near Blackfriars, Scott Marshall’s world looks as if it’s falling apart. It’s late 1990 in the City of London, the Iraqis are in Kuwait, the Old Lady’s sick (Mrs Thatcher, not the Bank of England) and the wild times are over. The only thing a thirtysomething Anglo-American with a job at KLS, the legendarily predatory management consultants, an eating phobia and some exalted social connections can do is sit tight and weather the storm.

Walham Town, the struggling fourth division football side (‘We’re not one of your glamour clubs’) now launched on an unlooked-for cup-run by their megalomaniac chairman, seems a safe bolt-hole. But Walham’s shattered finances harbour a nest of deceit and subterfuge. Meanwhile, secretive, anonymous Miranda is steadily rearranging Scott’s emotional life, his father’s plans to visit have released all kinds of ghosts from their shared past, and his boss’s intrigues with a brace of City cronies may or may not rebound to his advantage.

As these parallel lines start to converge, Scott’s position turns ever less secure. The arrival of Scott’s ailing father, with some bizarre ideas on how to spend his vacation, could hardly come at a worse moment. . .

Taking place on a pontoon bridge between America and England and supplying an insider’s view of how the City works, D. J. Taylor’s third novel is a penetrating examination of national identity (on both sides of the Atlantic), missed connections in family life, and the way we behave to the people we love.

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About the author (2012)

D.J. Taylor was born in 1960, went to Norwich School and St John's College, Oxford, and is the author of two acclaimed biographies, Thackery (1999), and Orwell: The Life, which won the Whitbread Biography Prize in 2003. He has written nine novels, the most recent being Derby Day (2011, longisted for the Man Booker Prize), At the Chime of a City Clock (2010), Ask Alice (2009) and Kept: A Victorian Mystery (2006).

David is also well known as a critic and reviewer, and his other books include A Vain Conceit: British Fiction in the 1980s (1989) and After the War: the Novel and England since 1945 (1993). His journalism appears in the Independent and the Independent on Sunday, the Guardian, the Tablet, the Spectator, the New Statesman and, anonymously, in Private Eye. He is married to the novelist Rachel Hore. They have three sons and live in Norwich, UK.

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