Novel of the week: The answer to everything

Luke Kennard writes about the middle class, Barney Norris said in The Guardian: “the flat whites, homeownership, the therapists, the teachers.”

His first novel, The transition, was a satire on Britain’s housing crisis. In her second, Emily and Steven, a couple with two young sons, are excluded from the London property market and move to a vaguely “alternative” suburban community called the Criterion, Patricia Nicol told The Sunday Times. There, Emily becomes emotionally involved with a glamorous neighbor called Elliott. The resulting novel is “very funny” and “abounds in concise and ironic observations”.

Although seemingly about adultery, this novel features little sex, Jake Kerridge said in The Daily Telegraph: Emily and Elliott are too tied in parenting to meet more than occasionally. Instead, they conduct their business through WhatsApp – and much of the book consists of “transcripts of their messages.”

The plot is a bit static, but it’s a story readers will admire for “the sharpness of most of its characterizations and observations of 21st century life and love.”

4th domain 416pp £ 14.99; Bookstore of the week € 11.99

Bookstore of the week

To order this or any other printed book, visit, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5.30pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

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