The cover caught my eye when looking for new books to read – the author’s name was familiar too.
Ray is not a bad guy. Sure, he’s just cheated on his heavily pregnant wife. He secretly despises all of his friends. His career as a freelance tech journalist is dismal, and he can’t afford any of the hovels that pass for a first-time buyer’s house, and he spends his afternoons churning out listicles in his pants. But Ray is about to learn that no matter how low you sink, things can always get worse…
Brace yourself for a wickedly funny look at modernity from the comic genius behind Submarine. The Adulterants is a tale of sadistic estate agents and catastrophic open marriages, dysfunctional friendships and internet trolls, underwhelming panic on the streets of London, and one very immature man finally learning to grow up.
The novel is set in London where Ray, a freelance journalist, is living with his heavily pregnant wife, Garthene, a nurse. Ray almost cheats on his wife early on, and the novel follows the couple, alongside their close friends, living in tumultuous relationships in modern Britain.
Minor crimes, heavy paranoia, and public drunkenness, they are, for 30-something year olds, imaging the prolonged adolescence beyond biological boundaries which is common in the British culture today.
The novel is written in quite a comedic way, with clever turns of phrase and very funny character descriptions which don’t go beyond what all of us can understand and recognise.
The book touches an interesting cultural note, that of adolescence extending well into the 20s – the Peter Pan culture. We have now people “adulting” at 25, rather than just accepting that they are an adult. Why we want to prolong our youthful label beyond biological (or sensible) barriers, I do not know – perhaps we don’t want the responsibilities that come with adulthood, but just want to have fun. Either way the novel shows an immature in the characters which is altogether believable.
The novel also touches on parenthood and the learning to care for another life, albeit briefly. The characters finish off with having some way to go, but perhaps an inkling of change can be detected in the final part.
Dunthorne is a very talented writer, and the book is a pleasure to read.