What I did to them was terrible, but you have to understand the context. This was London, 2016 . . .
Bohemia is history. Paul has awoken to the fact that he will always be better known for reviewing haircuts than for his literary journalism. He is about to be kicked out of his cheap flat in east London and his sister has gone missing after an argument about what to do with the house where they grew up. Now that their mother is dead this is the last link they have to the declining town on the north-west coast where they grew up.
Enter Emily Nardini, a cult author, who – after granting Paul a rare interview – receives him into her surprisingly grand home. Paul is immediately intrigued: by Emily and her fictions, by her vexingly famous and successful partner Andrew (too old for her by half), and later by Andrew’s daughter Sophie, a journalist whose sexed-up vision of the revolution has gone viral. Increasingly obsessed, relationships under strain, Paul travels up and down, north and south, torn between the town he thought he had escaped and the city that threatens to chew him up.
With heart, bite and humour, Luke Brown leads the reader beyond easy partisanship and into much trickier terrain. Straddling the fissures within a man and his country, riven by envy, wealth, ownership, entitlement, and loss, Theft is an exhilarating howl of a novel.
'Luke Brown's Theft is acerbic but tender, biting but elegiac, a snapshot of early twenty-first century life in which the unceasing prospect of catastrophe is the new normal.' Colin Barrett ---- `It's a rare thrill to find a writer with Luke Brown's gift for nimbly navigating the maze of gentrification, Brexit, and the gig economy with dark, effervescent hilarity. Theft is a funhouse mirror held up to the grim absurdity of our political moment, a quick-witted tale of generational crisis, and an incredibly poignant and funny take on what happens after bad turns to worse.' Alexandra Kleeman----`A raw, funny, surprisingly tender novel about belonging, class, and what makes a life a success. I loved the central brother/sister relationship and how the book confronted masculinity and the disparity between womanhood and the male experience. I grew so fond of the protagonist, and devoured the book in a day.' Dolly Alderton ----`I love Luke Brown's intimate detailing of both the tiny fault lines, and vast chasms that divide us. This Britain is both utterly recognisable and freshly revealed and the writing assured, funny and always humane' Catherine O'Flynn ----`It's rare to read something as cuttingly funny which is also this wise and humane, even while the plot moves like the twist of a knife. What do we choose? What's already been chosen for us? In creating a protagonist and a scene so specific and forensically well-observed, Brown delivers a state of the nation / state of masculinity novel with the ebullience and momentum of a writer discovering his true and specific powers.' Luke Kennard ---- `Theft is a witty, tender and insightful portrait of a city, and a life, at a time of crisis. It's engrossing and charming and made me laugh many, many times.' Nicole Flattery ---- Praise for My Biggest Lie by Luke Brown: ---- `A real page-tuner. Deeply sensual.' Gary Shteyngart---- `I grabbed this for its mad adventure but came away with a gift for the heart.' DBC Pierre ---- `Brown's novel captures the sun-soaked sexiness of the city . . . and the hazy drug that is desire better than anything I have read in years.' The Guardian ---- `Rewarding and ambitious.' Times Literary Supplement ---- `An unashamedly literary novel that nonetheless wears its learning lightly and is totally unpretentious: a ludic, drunk, dizzying jaunt.' Dazed & Confused ---- `A scintillating, intelligent and uproariously funny trip into the excesses of storytelling' Big Issue----`Smart, zingy and extremely funny, this is a real treat.' Paul Murray
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