4th Estate interviews Claire Lowdon, author of ‘Left of the Bang’

We sat down with the impossibly young Claire Lowdon to discuss her debut novel, Left of the Bang.

A ‘how we live now’ novel, it has been described as a Vanity Fair for our times, an acute social satire that artfully probes the experience of being young in London today. Lowdon set out to examine ‘the pressure on people in their twenties to be having a terrific time both socially and sexually’, a fading projection somewhat out of place in our recession-riddled era.

She sits down with editor Lettice Franklin to talk about this ‘book about sex and war’, how many umms make a believable sentence, the best authors at writing sex, how Tolstoy and Eliot inspire her and the book she’d take if stranded on a desert island.


Daringly, radically honest and very, very funny, this is the best novel yet about the ‘lost generation’ of young Londoners today.

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.

Out Now.

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