Serious Sweet by A. L. Kennedy

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...there are times in Serious Sweet when the transitions between present day and flashback narratives feel jarring and uneven. However, for most of the novel we are immersed in Jon and Meg’s internal worlds, an immersion that is at times deeply affecting.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize

A good man in a bad world, Jon Sigurdsson is fifty-nine and divorced, a senior civil servant in London who hates many of his colleagues and loathes his work for a government engaged in unmentionable acts.

Meg Williams is a bankrupt accountant—two words you don’t want in the same sentence, or anywhere near your résumé. She’s forty-five and shakily sober, living on Telegraph Hill in London, where she can see the city unfurl below her.

Somewhere out there is Jon, pinballing around the city with a cell phone and a letter-writing habit he can’t break. He’s a man on the brink, leaking government secrets and affection for a woman he barely knows as he runs for his life.

Poignant, deeply funny, and beautifully written, Serious Sweet is about two decent, damaged people trying to make moral choices in an immoral world, ready to sacrifice what’s left of themselves for honesty and for a chance at tenderness. As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London—passing through twenty-four hours that will change them both forever—they tell an unusual and moving love story.

 

About A. L. Kennedy

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A.L. Kennedy has twice been selected as one of Grantaâ's Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards, including the Costa Book of the Year for her novel Day. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at the University of Warwick.
 
Published October 18, 2016 by Little A. 496 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Serious Sweet
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Hannah Beckerman on May 08 2016

...there are times in Serious Sweet when the transitions between present day and flashback narratives feel jarring and uneven. However, for most of the novel we are immersed in Jon and Meg’s internal worlds, an immersion that is at times deeply affecting.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lara Feigel on May 07 2016

What makes this more moving than saccharine is both the pleasantly cynical humour of the characters (Jon spends a vast proportion of his time swearing at himself for his own stupidity) and its wider reach.

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Financial Times

Good
Reviewed by Rebecca Abrams on Jun 03 2016

Serious Sweet is a magnificent novel, showing Kennedy at the very top of her game. Ambitious in scope, daring in execution, full of dazzling aperçus and dark comedy, it is a novel about politics and love, the terror and beauty of human connection, and the profound desire to heal and be healed.

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