Review: The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers, by Paul Torday

A skilfully crafted novel with a subtle blend of humour, pathos, and wit.

The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers, by Paul Torday

HECTOR – or Eck as he is known to his friends – has just left the army and is looking for something to do.

He gets a job as a” greeter” for an investment fund company.

His job is to keep the company’s moneyed clients supplied with entertainment and large G&Ts.


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This peaceful, if unusual, existence is all changed when he goes on a golfing holiday to France.

There he meets Charlie who is, to put it bluntly, a fly-by-night entrepreneur. One of Charlie’s dodgy schemes is to import Japanese dog food into the UK.

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He turns up on Eck’s doorstep hoping to launch his scheme in the area. Eck has to ask himself who has the most to lose: him or Charlie. And just to add to the fun, the financial crisis is looming.

This is a skilfully crafted novel, from the author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, with memorable characterisation and a subtle blend of humour, pathos, and wit.

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