The official website of the award-winning and best-selling novelist
Sebastian Faulks ~ The official website of the award-winning and best-selling novelist
Where My Heart Used To Beat

Sebastian’s new novel Where My Heart Used to Beat, will be published by Hutchinson on 10 September 2015.

On a small island off the south coast of France,Robert Hendricks, an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer, is forced to confront the events that made up his life.

His host, and antagonist, is Alexander Pereira,a man whose time is running out, but who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.

The search for sanity takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

The recurring themes of Sebastian Faulks’s fiction are here brought together with a new stylistic brilliance as the novel casts a long,baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.

Preorder your copy today.

A Broken World

An original and illuminating non-fiction anthology of writing on the First World War. 

A lieutenant writes of digging through bodies that have the consistency of Camembert cheese; a mother sends flower seeds to her son at the Front, hoping that one day someone may see them grow; a nurse tends a man back to health knowing he will be court-martialled and shot as soon as he is fit.

In this extraordinarily powerful and diverse selection of diaries, letters and memories – many of which have never been published before – privates and officers, seamen and airmen, munitions workers and mothers, nurses and pacifists, prisoners-of-war and conscientious objectors appear alongside each other.

The war involved people from so many different backgrounds and countries and included here are, among others, British, German, Russian and Indian voices. Alongside testament from the many ordinary people whose lives were transformed by the events of 1914-18, there are extracts from names that have become synonymous with the war, such as Siegfried Sassoon and T.E. Lawrence. What unites them is a desire to express something of the horror, the loss, the confusion and the desire to help – or to protest.

A Broken World is an original collection of personal and defining moments that offer an unprecedented insight into the Great War as it was experienced and as it was remembered.

A Possible Life

Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire.

Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father is too ashamed to acknowledge his son.

A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull.

Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection – some key to understanding what makes us the people we become.

Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks’s dazzling novel journeys across continents and time to explore the chaos created by love, separation and missed opportunities. From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else’s life.

Book Sample

Ever since Robinson Crusoe in 1719, the novel has introduced British readers to truly unforgettable characters – people in whom we can find deeper understanding of our own lives. In this engaging and personal book, Sebastian Faulks examines and celebrates the most famous and best-loved of these dazzling fictional creations and their wider impact on British culture as a whole. From Sherlock Holmes and Mr Darcy to Emma Woodhouse and James Bond – this is the story of the heroes, lovers, snobs and villains in all of us.

A compelling and personal look at the British novel through its greatest characters – the heroes, lovers, snobs and villains – by bestselling novelist Sebastian Faulks

Faulks on Fiction

A compelling and personal look at the British novel through its greatest characters – the heroes, lovers, snobs and villains – by bestselling novelist Sebastian Faulks

A Week In December

A Week in December, Sebastian Faulks’s tenth novel, came out in September 2009 to considerable press attention. Much of it focussed on his attempt to write a ‘state of the nation’ book at a time of economic meltdown and admired the ambition and the execution of the idea. It ‘could hardly be more timely’, said The Times; it is ‘unequivocally successful,’ said the Guardian and ‘perfectly constructed’, according to the Telegraph.

The Independent wrote: ‘Often edgily satirical, sometimes deeply affecting, A Week in December grasps its headline motifs with the strong and supple hands of a master.’

A Trick of the Light

This was the first novel Sebastian Faulks published.

Set at the time of writing, it tells the story of George Grillet, a young Frenchman who works in the wine business and has come to London on compassionate leave. He is persuaded to run what he believes is an innocent errand, which involves stealing a cassette tape from a warehouse in the then-undeveloped Isle of Dogs in east London. The novel has many evocations of run-down areas of the city.

It is unclear how much George understands the extent to which he is being used by political extremists. His surname, meanwhile, appears to be a reference to the French nouveau roman novelist, Alain Robbe-Grillet and he is much influenced by his reading of The Outsider by Camus. He also reads pulp fiction to distract himself from the pain of his recent past, which involves a broken love affair in France. The first draft of the novel, which was edited by James Michie at the Bodley Head, contained extracts from the thrillers George reads, though these were dropped from the final version.

While George’s story becomes increasingly nightmarish, an unnamed narrator gives a sinister commentary on events. This person has the final words in the book, which imply that a child is about to be snatched from the street.

Although A Trick of the Light was well received at the time, Faulks has since declined to have it published in paperback. ‘There are maybe some nice things in it,’ he said. ‘The action scenes and some of the descriptions of London. But it’s so far from what I went on to write that I think it was a distraction, a kind of throat-clearing. It was an attempt to write something that could get into print after three or four rather “experimental” things in my twenties which ended up in a drawer.’


‘A most impressive first novel.’
Daily Telegraph

‘An entertaining and always shiftily gripping tale of menace.’

• The print run of A Trick of the Light was only 1500, some of which were later pulped. A single signed copy can now fetch as much as £1,000.

• One of the characters, Wyn Douglas, a radical journalist, reappeared in Faulks’s 2006 novel Engleby.

• The book is dedicated to Hugues and Caroline d’Achon. She is a lifelong English friend of the author’s; he is a French architect, painter and novelist. They live near Nantes on the west coast of France.

The Girl At The Lion d’Or

Set in provincial France in 1936, Faulks’s second novel established his reputation and set out the themes that he would deal with for the next ten years.

Anne Louvet arrives to work at the run-down hotel of the title, in Janvilliers, a small coastal town in Brittany. It is clear that she brings with her the secret of a traumatic past. Almost at once, she becomes fascinated by a local lawyer, Hartmann, who lives in a large and semi-derelict house on a headland with his wife Christine.

A Fool’s Alphabet

Faulks’s third novel. The title derives from the old Cockney phonetic joke: A for ’Orses, B for Mutton, C for Yerself, and so on. Each of its 26 chapters is set in a different place; the name of each place begins with a different letter of the alphabet. The structure of the novel is thus not one of linear time, but the apparently random one of alphabetical order.

The main character, Pietro, is English with an Italian mother. He works as a photographer, and there is a snapshot quality to some of the chapters and place descriptions. The dislocation of time and the alphabetic imperative mean that we see him traumatically parting from his lover before we see them meet. ‘I liked the idea of fate that this seemed to bring to their early friendship,’ Faulks said. ‘I also liked it that I was able to resurrect people. Someone who dies in chapter four is healthy and well in chapter 12. I believed this said something about the way we experience time.’


Faulks’s fourth novel and the second in his French trilogy has become a classic of modern English literature. It is taught at school and university on both English and History syllabuses; it has sold more than two million copies in the United Kingdom and three million worldwide; in polls it is regularly voted one of the nation’s all-time favourite books.