Our reviews of
The Hopeless Life Of Charlie Summers by Paul Torday
Literary Fiction (View all)
Hector Chetwode-Talbot, Eck to his friends, has left the army after a rather nasty moment in Colombia. From a privileged background, he is slightly at a loss as to what to do next, when he is approached by an old army pal, Bilbo Mountwilliam. Bilbo runs an investment fund company and persuades Eck to join the company.It is on a golfing trip to France with his friend Henry Newark that Eck first meets Charlie Summers, a fly-by-night entrepreneur who is hiding out in France after a 'misunderstanding with Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue'. Charlie's latest scheme is to import Japanese dog food into the UK. Henry casually mentions that Charlie should 'look us up' if he is ever in Gloucestershire.But not only does Charlie Summers look Henry up, he arrives with his suitcase, intent on staying with the Newarks and relaunching his dog food business in their area. But with the financial crash looming, Eck begins to ask himself if they are so very different...
Reviewed: December 2009
This deliciously quirky book looks at life in a small British village. Two men, similar in appearance, lead strangely parallel existences. One, protected by virtue of birth and the other leading a more pedestrian existence. Their income comes easily enough to each of them as long as their conscience is kept at bay. That driving force aimed at financial prosperity will have far reaching consequences for both. For me, the moral to the story is a simple one: all you need is love. Trite or true? The reader decides.