If I could just ask you - Would you be interested in this absolutely stunning and darkly comic new novel about advertising salesmen? Because remember, advertising and sales are what make our world go round. Did you know that approximately forty-three per cent of us have sold advertising space at some time in our lives? Or that the average person sees 1004 adverts every day? Let me just ask you this - When was the last time you saw an advert? Probably in the last fifty-seven seconds. This is the story of Paul Rainey, an ad salesman with Park Lane Publications Ltd. Perceiving dimly through a fog of psychoactive substances his dissatisfaction with his life - professional, sexual, weekends, the lot - he only wishes there was something he was able to do about it. And 'something' seems to fall into his lap when a meeting with an old friend and fellow salesman, Eddy Jaw, leads to the offer of a new job. Unfortunately, this offer turns out to be as misleading as Paul's patter, and the total transformation it precipitates in his life, and the life of his family, very much more peculiar than he would ever have thought possible.
Critics often lament that the world of work is rarely treated in British fiction. London and the South-East answers that need triumphantly.
Winner of Betty Trask Prize 2008.
David Szalay was born in Canada in 1974 and moved to London the following year. Though his parents insist this was a temporary arrangement, he is still there. Since limping through an English degree at Oxford University, he has tried his hand at a number of things, including film-making (his debut, The Old Soldier, was dubbed 'the worst film ever made') and photography (only paid assignment - a wedding, the couple since divorced). He spent a number of years in telesales, during which time he wrote several radio plays for the BBC. London and the South-East is his first novel. He lives in London.