By Alan Brownjohn
135mmx210mm, paperback, 236pp
A curious little incident during a heatwave starts up some large changes in Frank Winterfield’s life. Soon he’s ensnared by the seductive Anna, involved in the cool Merlinda’s researches, absorbed by the sexual crises of the aimless Jake. And everyone falls under the spell of William Bridgnorth’s extraordinary disciplines. Prepare to be surprised and challenged by this weirdly original comedy of an England where not to have fun has become a punishable offence.
Enjoyment is Alan Brownjohn’s fifth novel. The Way You Tell Them, a tale of a writer turned “court jester” for a press tycoon, won the Authors’ Club award for the best first novel of 1990. His second, The Long Shadows (1997) an acclaimed “literary thriller”, was Jonathan Coe’s book of the year (New Statesman). Critics admired A Funny Old Year (2001) as “an adroit comedy of manners” (Sunday Telegraph), and a “fast-moving drily amusing tale” (Times Literary Supplement). For David Kynaston, his Windows on the Moon (2009) was “an extraordinary intimate, pitch-perfect recreation of not only the very taste and smell of austerity Britain but the whole sensibility of an era”.
Early reviews and readers’ letters:
“I was expected to write a review of it in the still remote days beyond Christmas but I soon became so engaged with the narrative that the idea became a pleasurable prospect. Hence, sooner perhaps than the editor expected, here is my assessment…”
“It’s slyly ironic and comedic in the particulars of lfe as foreseeably lived in the Great Years of five or ten years’ time…”
“Alan Brownjohn takes us into a world where New Enhanced Surveillance is the norm and ordinary inhabitants place themselves in grave danger in basic acts of self-expression…”
“How often do we come across a book as rich and complex?”
“I have enjoyed reading Enjoyment. It has so much of [Brownjohn’s] sceptical ad whimsical character shining out of it…”
“Chapters 10 and 17 could be seen as verging on the Kafkaesque [yet] in Chapter 21 the reader might be momentarily deceived into thinking this is going to turn into a Chandleresque novel…”
“I liked best the adventures of Jake in his Baltic spa, with his wonderful phrase-book English ad fortuitous “military” promotion and demotion…”
“We follow Jake, Merlinda and the cast through deftly plotted interplay and yet it gives us much to muse about as well…”
“fluent in possibilities…”
“an easy and engaging read…”