The Hopeless Life Of Charlie Summers

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9780297855262: The Hopeless Life Of Charlie Summers

Hector Chetwode-Talbot, Eck to his friends, has left the army after a rather nasty moment in Colombia. From a privileged background, he is slightly at a loss as to what to do next, when he is approached by an old army pal, Bilbo Mountwilliam. Bilbo runs an investment fund company and business is booming. Bilbo persuades Eck to join the company as a 'greeter', for a person with Eck's list of contacts is an easy route to a rich seam of moneyed clients. All Eck has to do is supply the contacts with entertainment and large G&Ts and then the fund managers will do the rest. Soon Eck is able to buy himself a luxury sports car and decadent flat in the city. All that is missing in his life is a woman. It is on a golfing trip to France with his friend Henry Newark that Eck first meets Charlie Summers, a fly-by-night entrepreneur who is hiding out in France after a 'misunderstanding with Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue'. Charlie's latest scheme is to import Japanese dog food into the UK. Henry casually mentions that Charlie should 'look us up' if he is ever in Gloucestershire. Not only does Charlie Summers look Henry up, he arrives with his suitcase, intent on staying with the Newarks and relaunching his dog food business in their area. But with the financial crash looming, Eck begins to ask himself if they are so very different...

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About the Author:

Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the next 30 years working in engineering and in industry, after which he scaled back his business responsibilities to fulfil a long-harboured ambition - to write. He burst on to the literary scene in 2006 with his first novel, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, an immediate bestseller that has been sold in 22 countries. He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons and lives close to the River North Tyne.

Review:

"one of the most outstanding authors to have emerged in recent years" -- Caroline Jowett DAILY EXPRESS "Torday is master of blending satire with gentle humanity" -- Clare Longrigg PSYCHOLOGIES "Charlie then turns up at Henry's house - and Eck begins to see a disturbing reflection of himself" -- Kate Saunders THE TIMES "Charlie is a wonderful creation, at once sad and heroic, whose search for redemption attains real pathos at the end of this affecting, skilfully crafted novel" -- David Evans FINANCIAL TIMES "shades of both Greene and Ambler here, both in the crispness of the exposition and the marrying of humour with something close to tragedy" -- John Preston THE SPECTATOR "A beautifully told tale - we loved it!" BELLA "A brilliant, page-turning read that combines the pace of Torday's The Girl on the Landing with his trademark humour in Salmon Fishing" GRANTA "a fine tale. Even the worst of us, according to this novel, can find redemption" -- Virginina Blackburn DAILY EXPRESS "Brilliantly and sympathetically drawn. this wonderfully written, clever book does not miss a single trick" -- Wendy Moore DAILY MAIL Four stars SHE "This is his fourth novel and it too deserves to do well... It is funny, touching and ultimately surprising" -- Allan Massie THE SCOTSMAN "his quietly compassionate portrait of Charlie has powerful echoes off Dickens's Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities" -- Claire Allfree METRO "another deft and likeable comedy from Torday" -- Max Davidson MAIL ON SUNDAY "this is a hugely readable and largely fluent novel" -- Elizabeth Buchan SUNDAY TIMES "The Salmon Fishing in the Yemen author is now achieving 'must-read' status. You're in for an Eck of a good time" NEWS OF THE WORLD "Torday's novel gives a strong impression of the callous indifference that moving around big sums of other people's money tends to entail." -- David Horspool TLS

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