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A man who has settled into a safe, ordinary suburban life wakes one day to find himself "sacked"fired and cast adrift to rediscover and reinvent himself. By the author of The Debt to Pleasure. 85,000 first printing. BOMC.
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Elegant, demonic, obsessive, John Lanchester's The Debt to Pleasure won the Whitbread Award for first novel, was short-listed for many others, and was translated into a dizzying number of foreign languages. Its narrator, Tarquin Winot, displays an encyclopedic knowledge of food and haute cuisine, and must surely be one of the first fictional "foodie-killers." The author's second novel, Mr Phillips, is in a very different key. The eponymous protagonist, a 50-year-old London accountant, has lost his job but hasn't told his family. He leaves for work as usual on Monday morning, and finds himself wandering aimlessly around the city, taking it all in. So the odyssey begins.
A statistician and inveterate quantifier, Mr Phillips likes to give marks out of ten for things (including sexual dreams), a habit that has especially humorous consequences when he visits the Tate Gallery. A Gaudier-Brzeska head: seven out of ten; The Boyhood of Raleigh: five. His thoughts on Millais's Ophelia are typical: "If she had drowned surely she wouldn't be floating on her back like that? Certainly that wasn't how drowned people looked on TV. Six out of ten." Mr Phillips's judgments may lack sophistication, but they are often hilariously apt, and above all true to his personality. He has a penchant for mental arithmetic, and speculates about how many women in England pose nude for magazines and tabloids (16,744, he deduces). He isn't exactly sex-obsessed, but he illustrates dramatically the notion that men think about sex a great deal of the time.
His thoughts also meander in many directions: How many people on a London bus have never been on the river Thames? What would the financial accounts of the Battersea Park authorities look like? Standing on Chelsea Bridge, he calculates the speed at which a suicide would hit the water. Is this litany of seemingly trivial arithmetical puzzles a response to the trauma of unemployment, or is it a heightened version of the mind games we all privately play? Mr Phillips is extremely observant and insightful--he should have given up accountancy long ago. He is good on old age and especially good on death: "But the thought that you would be aware of what was going on as you died implied that somewhere in his future was a moment of the purest terror, terror at 200 proof, so that you could have a small taste of the fear every time you let your mind touch on the subject, even for a second or two."
Reviewers have already been talking about literary influences--Woolf, Joyce, Wells--but John Lanchester's mesmerizing second novel has a cumulative power and brilliance all its own. --Jonathan AllisonFrom the Inside Flap:
One warm July morning, Mr. Phillips climbs out of bed and prepares for his commute to London ? but this is no ordinary day. Though he carries his attaché case as usual as he sets out from home, he does not head for the office. Instead, this is a day on which Mr. Phillips will chat with a pornographer, stalk a TV mini-celebrity, have lunch with an aspiring record mogul, and get caught up in a bank robbery. In short, as Mr. Phillips comes to realize, this is the first day of the rest of his life ? whether he wants it to be or not.
But why is Mr. Phillips, a cautious middle-aged accountant, not behind his desk calculating the financial consequences of redundancies or recommending the savings to be made from more responsible use of yellow sticky notes?
In Mr. Phillips, John Lanchester has created an unforgettable character ? the quintessential average man whose tidy life is one day shaken up by an event even he can?t talk about. Lanchester?s eye for detail is unparalleled, his sensibility all his own. This new novel confirms his reputation as one of the most innovative and gifted novelists writing today.
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Book Description Putnam, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First American Edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. No other names. No notes, not remaindered. DJ not price clipped ($24.95). ; 291 pages; Flat signed by Lanchester, title page. NOT inscribed. ; Signed by Author. Seller Inventory # 10078
Book Description Putnam Adult, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0399146040
Book Description Putnam Adult, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0399146040
Book Description Putnam Pub Group, 2000. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Book Description Mister Phillips, c'est vous, c'est moi, l'homme de la rue, le "petit homme" de Gogol, que rien ne distingue de ses voisins-ni ses préjugés, ni ses tabous, ni ses phobies, ni ses fantasmes-et qui voit soudain le ciel lui tomber sur la tête le jour où l'entreprise qu'il a diligemment servie pendant plusieurs décennies le licencie sans cérémonie. Ce Monsieur-Tout-le-Monde, à la cinquantaine bedonnante et au petit parfum d'Outre-Manche, va mettre à profit sa première journée d'oisiveté forcée pour s'offrir une promenade dans le Londres d'aujourd'hui et découvrir sa ville, ses congénères, leurs richesses, leurs faiblesse ou leurs bizarreries. La banalité tout apparente de ce périple londonien est subvertie tout au long par l'humour caustique de Lanchester qui fait la part belle à ces excentriques dont la littérature anglaise a le secret. --This text refers to the Paperback edition. From the Back Cover Mr. Phillips, c'est vous, c'est moi, l'homme de la rue, le " petit homme " de Gogol, que rien ne distingue de ses voisins-ni ses préjugés, ni ses tabous, ni ses phobies, ni ses fantasmes-et qui voit soudain le ciel lui tomber sur la tête le jour où l'entreprise qu'il a diligemment servie pendant plusieurs décennies le licencie sans cérémonie. Ce Monsieur Tout-le-Monde, à la cinquantaine bedonnante, va mettre à profit sa première journée d'oisiveté forcée pour s'offrir une promenade dans le Londres d'aujourd'hui et découvrir sa ville, ses congénères, leurs richesses, leurs faiblesses ou leurs bizarreries. La banalité tout apparente de ce périple londonien est subvertie tout au long par l'humour caustique de Lanchester, qui fait la part belle à ces " excentriques " dont la littérature anglaise a le secret. Témoin, par exemple, les trajets en métro aux heures de pointe, la visite guidée de la Tate Gallery et la découverte de la peinture préraphaélite par ce Candide au regard décapant, ou la prise d'otages lors de l'attaque d'une banque. S'il touche à certaines. Seller Inventory # 1127J244554
Book Description Putnam Adult, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110399146040
Book Description Putnam Adult. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0399146040 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1074584