James is a disillusioned public servant — spending all his time and energy planning for the future of his city, and leaving none to plan his own. That is, until he meets Felix, a suave stranger who promises to shape him in his image.
When Campbell published his first novel, Fold, in 2012, about five blokes competing with one another in poker (and life), it drew somewhat inevitable comparisons with Nick Hornby and this modern Pygmalion — a darkly comic look at London today through the eyes of an everyman — again has a definite Hornbyesque feel. But for all the laughs (and there are plenty in the razor-sharp detail), against a backdrop of recession, the hero seems not so much like one of Hornby’s hapless Nineties everyblokes — but actually hopeless. Under the light coating, the bleak picture Campbell paints of the big smoke might for some be just a little too close for comfort.