In The Fatal Englishman," " his first work of nonfiction, Sebastian Faulks explores the lives of three remarkable men. Each had the seeds of greatness; each was a beacon to his generation and left something of value behind; yet each one died tragically young.
Christopher Wood, only twenty-nine when he killed himself, was a painter who lived most of his short life in the beau monde of 1920s Paris, where his charm, good looks, and the dissolute life that followed them sometimes frustrated his ambition and achievement as an artist.
Richard Hillary was a WWII fighter pilot who wrote a classic account of his
experiences, "The Last Enemy, " but died in a mysterious training accident while defying doctor's orders to stay grounded after horrific burn injuries; he was twenty-three.
Jeremy Wolfenden, hailed by his contemporaries as the brightest Englishman of
his generation, rejected the call of academia to become a hack journalist in Cold War Moscow. A spy, alcoholic, and open homosexual at a time when such activity was still illegal, he died at the age of thirty-one, a victim of his own recklessness and of the peculiar pressures of his time.
Through the lives of these doomed young men, Faulks paints an oblique
portrait of English society as it changed in the twentieth century, from the Victorian era to the modern world.
About the Author
Sebastian Faulks is the author of ten novels. They include the UK number one bestseller "A Week in December"; "Human Traces"; "On Green Dolphin Street"; "Charlotte Gray", which was made into a film starring Cate Blanchett; and the classic "Birdsong", which has sold more than three million copies and was recently adapted for television. In 2008, he was invited to write a James Bond novel, "Devil May Care", to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming. In between books he wrote and presented the four-part television series "Faulks on Fiction" for the BBC. He lives in London with his wife and their three children.
“Compelling and stunningly written.” –The Times (London)
“Faulks is a prodigiously talented writer.” –The New York Times
“You may not have heard of the subjects of these three essays, but please do not let that hinder you. . . . [Faulks’s] spare narrative hides a commitment to his subjects which pulls you in and leaves you gasping for these lost lives.” –Mail on Sunday
“Flawless. . . . Poetic. . . . Superbly portrayed. . . . [Faulks’s] feat of imagination . . . is phenomenal.” –Daily Telegraph