Another from the Man Booker shortlist 2016. Each of the nine chapters in this book, which is essentially a collection of short stories, deals with a man at a different stage in his life. It begins with a 17 year student and ends with a 73 year old retired civil servant. The men are are from diverse backgrounds and walks of life, English student, Belgian academic, Hungarian bodyguard, Danish journalist, Russian oligarch. With the exception of perhaps the student and the elderly civil servant, none of the characters are particularly sympathetic or likeable. It is the strength of Szalay’s writing that despite this the novel is an easy read with well drawn characters. Overall it is an examination of masculinity and modern life in all its messiness. There is an unexpected connection between the first and the last chapter, pleasant and unforced.
A more detailed review can be found here.