Author(s): Tom Campbell
James is exactly what you'd expect from one of London's most promising, young town planners. He's cautious, respected by colleagues and performs well in team meetings. But while James understands the glitter and grime of the city better than almost anyone, he hasn't actually experienced much of it. And, as he watches his university friends blossom bewilderingly into rich and successful adults, he has the nagging sense that he has somehow fallen by the wayside. That is, until he meets Felix, who navigates the glamorous and cynical capital with sophisticated ease. Felix introduces James to a London that he has never known, and which doesn't feature in the planning manuals: a world of private clubs and executive football boxes; of book launches, contemporary art galleries, suburban drug dealers and dates with women even more exotic than the peculiar vodka shots they drink. But London is an expensive city in many ways, and the world Felix has opened up comes at a cost. James may know how to design housing estates and high streets, but is it really possible to redraw the masterplan for his own life? And what will he lose along the way?
Nick Hornby's High Fidelity for a new generation, The Planner is a brilliantly funny and provocative novel about dreams and ambitions and how they can rise and fall like the city skyline
Made me laugh more times than any book in recent times, while being in some ways colossally sad. Campbell treats the subject of modern London with an elegant, vicious wit that is hugely addictive, but also with a sort of compassion and even affection. A genuinely funny, scathing, intelligent book that manages to nail both the lunacy of modern urban living and the more general problem of being a human being Mark Watson
Tom Campbell read history at Edinburgh University. Fold, his first novel, was published by Bloomsbury in 2011 to critical acclaim. He lives in north London with his wife and three sons.