Left of the Bang

Claire Lowdon

Left of the bang: a military term for the build-up to an explosion.

For failing concert pianist Tamsin Jarvis, the pressure is mounting. She thought she was happy with her adoring schoolteacher boyfriend Callum, but when Chris comes into their lives, that starts to change. In a few months Chris will be gone, leaving for his first tour of Afghanistan. Nothing seems to be working out the way Tamsin wants it to – in fact, she’s not even sure what it is she wants.

With sharp, satirical humour, unparalleled social observation, extreme sexual honesty and great empathy, Claire Lowdon has captured the foibles, hopes and difficulties that characterise a strata of young London today. A funny, unflinching insider’s view on the generation born in the 1980s – who are often having much less fun than it seems – this is a Vanity Fair for our times.

Reviews of Left of the Bang

  • ‘A remarkably compelling and shrewd look at the way we live now. Clear-eyed, audacious and disarmingly honest’ William Boyd

    ‘An unsparing and brilliantly realised novel … It’s hard to believe that this is Lowdon’s first novel, so assured is her satire and so penetrating the gaze she turns on her posh twentysomething’s metropolitan milieu … Her cast get uncomfortably under your skin, making Lowdon’s incendiary denouement real read-between-your-fingers stuff’ Daily Mail

    ‘Deeply impressive and accomplished … Lowdon charts the lives of a group of 20-somethings in London with sharpness and precision, with humour and insight, and with generous helpings of humanity … The writing is razor-sharp, excruciating in its honesty … [and] tempted this reader, upon finishing, to begin again from page one … A piece of fiction that is flawless’ Irish Times

    ‘An unflinchingly honest portrayal of Londoner life that reflects the complexities of navigating modern society with great empathy, style and humour … This book has been dubbed a Vanity Fair of our times and it’s a fair comparison … It is social observation at its very best with characters that are both painfully honest but also hilarious in their satirical humour … Tamsin Jarvis will resonate long after the final page is turned’ Stylist, ****

    ‘Write what you know, they say. Yet it’s a clever author who does just that and succeeds in offering insight … Lowdon takes time with the hopes and fears of each one, conjuring up a tension that builds painfully slowly … Lowdon uses sex to show the characters’ real selves … A smart and sober pronouncement on consequence’ The Times

    ‘The definitive novel of a generation of Londoners. So involved did I become in their lives, so closely did I feel I knew them, that the note of disquiet that carries through the pages like the eerie mewl of a tuning fork absolutely levelled me when finally it reached its full glass-shattering resonance three-quarters of the way through’ Gavin Corbett