The High Flyer – Susan Howatch

I’d not realised that Susan Howatch had progressed to producing religious reads set in the present day City of London, and if I’d not known that she was the author, then I would never have guessed. I read a lot of her historical novels as a teenager, and although these modern descendents are just as blockbuster-y in size, they are much less sweeping in scope in terms of timescale and cast.

Phil’s mum lent us this novel because of its Barbican setting, and it was interesting to compare Susan Howatch’s descriptions of the place where we live, and similarly for the wider City context in which I work. Having the main character living in a flat in a ficticious fourth tower was a bit of a let down, but given that it wound up being haunted (or did it…?) she probably felt obliged to.

The early sections of the book, telling of the work-life (im)balance of City lawyers rang true, but as I’m not a very religious reader, I did find the Christian message that emerged in the later parts a bit heavy going in places. That said, it was balanced by aetheist arguments and psychoanalysis. The details on the spectral plane, the occult and spiritualist sects were all rather unnerving for late night reading in the eerie silence of rural Herefordshire.

Buy it: Amazon link