Caledonian Road: A Novel (Hardcover)

Caledonian Road: A Novel By Andrew O'Hagan Cover Image
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(adult fiction)


A biting portrait of British class, politics, and money told through five interconnected families and their rising—and declining—fortunes.

Campbell Flynn, art historian, professor, and fêted fixture of the literati, always knew that when his life came crashing down, it would happen in public—yet he never imagined that a single year in London would expose so much.

He’s never taken other people half as seriously as they take themselves, which is the first of his mistakes. The second is a new project: opportunistic and precisely calibrated to rake in a fortune. Riding on the high of a best-selling biography of Vermeer and fielding more inquiries and requests than he has the time or patience to pursue, Campbell has nevertheless still not managed to shake the question of money. The fact of his quiet loan from a school friend now embroiled in scandal makes the ever-present worry feel even more pressing. His unflappable agent, Atticus; his steadfast wife, Elizabeth; his sister, Moira, crusading parliamentarian for the poor; his well-adjusted, well-off adult children, Angus and Kenzie; and all the outward trappings of success can’t conceal that something in his life is off.

As Campbell becomes increasingly entangled with a brilliant student, convention-smashing and working class, like he used to be, he feels he’s been given a second chance to embrace the change that frightens him, even as he sees trouble brewing for his family and friends. Campbell’s personal quest takes him down darker roads than he could have imagined, and all his worlds—the art scene and academia, fashion and the English aristocracy, journalism and the internet—collide in spectacular fashion, culminating in one shocking night on Caledonian Road.

About the Author

Andrew O’Hagan, a Scottish novelist and essayist, is a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, a three-time nominee for the Booker Prize, the editor-at-large of the London Review of Books, and a contributor to The New Yorker. He lives in London.

Praise For…

An addictively enjoyable yarn; a state-of-the-nation social novel with the swagger and bling of an airport bestseller and an insider’s grasp on the nuances of high culture.... A bold, bullish tale of hubris and corruption, a book simultaneously dazzled and disgusted by the city it depicts.... Nimble, lively and sure-footed.
— Xan Brooks - The Guardian

A pitch-perfect tragicomedy of manners.... A book—it’s hard to resist the word Dickensian—that feels as near an authentic slice of contemporary London life as any packed tube carriage.
— Tim Adams - Observer (Book of the Week)

A searing Dickensian portrait of modern Britain.... Gloriously ambitious.
— Johanna Thomas-Corr - Sunday Times (UK)

Capacious.... Caledonian Road is wildly readable, brimming with energy and filled with enjoyable contemporary detail. Brash, prating characters stalk its pages, demanding attention and understanding; yet, in Andrew O’Hagan’s redistributive narrative justice, the most heartfelt, and heart-rending, moments tend to involve those whose fate is to lurk on the periphery.

— Suzi Feay - Times Literary Supplement

A hugely enjoyable read, all delivered in O’Hagan’s customarily stylish prose.... A book that will get people reading—and talking.
— Susie Mesure - i news

Remarkable.... A novel on a scale which is rare today, and one which makes you think and feel at the same time.
— Allan Massie - Scotsman

An epic way-we-live-now social novel set in a rapidly corroding London.... O’Hagan shares [Tom] Wolfe’s gift for delivering a panoply of unique characters.... There’s no doubting the scope of [O’Hagan’s] ambition; when future generations seek to understand post-pandemic Britain, this will be one of the first places they look. A sprawling critique of so-called polite society.
— Kirkus Reviews

A brilliant, barnstorming state-of-the-nation novel that blasts the doors off shady workplaces, pulls down the facades of high society, and knocks over the ‘good liberal’ house of cards. But Andrew O’Hagan is not only a peerless chronicler of our times. He has other gifts—of generosity, humor, and tenderness—which make this novel an utter joy to read.
— Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane and Love Marriage

A masterpiece…Flynn is such a powerfully complete portrait of a person, a wonderfully rounded and compelling character, and I deeply felt for him. And the comedy! Not just line by line but page by page are laugh-out-loud funny. Amazing. Caledonian Road is extraordinary.

— John Lanchester, author of The Wall, Capital, and The Debt to Pleasure

I loved this novel—loved its ambition and scale and scope and certainty—its panache and brio and the joy in the writing. It’s Dickens and Wolfe and Thackeray and Hogarth and Amis.
— Peter Morgan, creator of The Crown and Frost/Nixon

Identity politics has shrunk our literary ambitions and cowed writers into shirking the task, which remains the same for us as it was for the original Victorians: to encompass the present in prose like Britain is rung around with water. Andrew O’Hagan, with his new two-fisted, triple-decker, four-on-the-floor magnum opus has made more than a great book—he has made a social miracle.
— Joshua Cohen, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Netanyahus
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324074878
ISBN-10: 1324074876
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
Pages: 624
Language: English