In Review

Novel of the week: The Answer to Everything

The second novel from Luke Kennard ‘abounds in pithy, wry observations’

Luke Kennard writes about the middle class, said Barney Norris in The Guardian: “flat whites, home ownership, therapists, teachers”.

His first novel, The Transition, was a satire on Britain’s housing crisis. In his second, Emily and Steven, a couple with two young sons, are priced out of London’s property market and move to a vaguely “alternative” suburban community, named the Criterion, said Patricia Nicol in The Sunday Times. There, Emily becomes emotionally involved with a glamorous neighbour called Elliott. The resulting novel is “very funny”, and “abounds in pithy, wry observations”.

Although ostensibly about adultery, this novel features little sex, said Jake Kerridge in The Daily Telegraph: Emily and Elliott are too tied up in their parental responsibilities to meet more than occasionally. Instead, they conduct their affair by WhatsApp – and much of the book consists of “transcripts of their messages”.

The plot is a little on the static side, but this is a story that readers will admire for the “acuity of most of its characterisations and its observations on 21st century life and love”.

4th Estate 416pp £14.99; The Week Bookshop £11.99

Luke Kennard
The Week Bookshop

To order this title or any other book in print, visit theweekbookshop.co.uk, or speak to a bookseller on 020-3176 3835. Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm and Sunday 10am-4pm.

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