Mike Engleby has a secret–just wait until you find out what it is. Engleby, being my first novel by Sebastian Faulks, took me by surprise. Not knowing what to expect, I was quickly drawn into what at first seemed like the ordinary life of a precocious yet intriguingly intellectual University student. I don’t always have to like the protagonist, but it does help in developing an interest in the story. In Engleby’s case, as Alfred Hickling aptly described, Engleby is “not particularly pleasant, possibly downright evil, but engagingly lucid and disarmingly funny.”
Page by page, I began to realise that Engleby was no ordinary boy. When the truth finally revealed itself, I wasn’t sure if he had imagined the truth or if it was in fact what had happened. As Engleby states, “Until we can navigate in time, I’m not sure we can prove that what happened is real.” He asks that we do not pity him, yet, how can you not feel for such a tragic human existence?
I highly recommend this book as an introduction to Sebastian Faulk’s work. I made the mistake of starting with A Week in Decemeber and am glad I switched halfway to Engleby.