The triumphant return of John Lanchester, whose debut novel, The Debt to Pleasure, won the hearts of booksellers, readers, and reviewers across America.
Mr Phillips wakes on the morning of July 31 in his modest, nearly mortgage-free home, in the bed he has contentedly shared with his wife of thirty years (though to be honest, at night he lies beside her and dreams of other women), ready to face another ordinary day. Except that for Mr Phillips, it is not an ordinary day, for on Friday, July 28, he was summarily sacked. Nonetheless, he rises at his usual hour and prepares himself as he has done his entire working life for the office he no longer has.
This is the story of one day in the life of a decent man who only forty-eight hours before knew exactly who and what he was--husband and father, accountant, home-owner, son--and who on this day wonders who and what he can become.
With his eye for the telling detail, his ear for the commonplaces of speech that make us who we are, his sympathy for the very ordinariness that sets us each apart, John Lanchester has created a jewel of a novel: From common clay, he has given us gold.
He has been called "a writer whose gifts border on the demonic" (Michael Upchurch, Chicago Tribune), and his first novel, The Debt to Pleasure, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, winner of the Whitbred Best First Novel Award, a New York Times Notable Book, and a national bestseller.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
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 Adult, U.S.A., 2000. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 008719
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97803991460461.0
Book Description Putnam, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First American Edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. No other names. No names, not remaindered. DJ not price clipped ($24.95). ; 291 pages; Flat signed by Lanchester, title page. NOT inscribed. ; Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 10078
Book Description Putnam Adult, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0399146040
Book Description Putnam Pub Group, 2000. Book 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. Bookseller Inventory # 1127J244554
Book Description Putnam Adult, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110399146040