Brought up in Switzerland, the only son of well-to-do parents, Charles Fryerne is somewhat unprepared for the world he meets when he goes up to Oxford University in the early 1980s. There he meets a fascinating social set, including a stellar young playwright, a student dubbed 'the future leader of the Conservative party' and a mercurial figure with ambitions to become the youngest prime minister since Pitt.
When they leave university, the characters go their separate ways. But as Charles' career as a journalist takes off, he finds himself once more in their orbit and observes firsthand the price of ambition and the inner workings of the political machine. And when the country's future leader accidentally hits an owl on a country road, there are difficult choices to be made....
Death of an Owl is a satire on political expediency and spin from the author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
Evidently Paul Torday died before he could finish this book. He died far too young and left some excellent novels written with an analytical view of human nature, and perhaps a special subject in self-deception. His son Piers completed this book. As a result the book is in two different parts, both of which are disturbing in their own way.
The first half centres around the manipulation of facts for political advantage and is all too recognisable in 2018. The second half ties up the loose ends with a supernatural flourish. I found the two halves did not compete or clash, and while the ending might be a little too easy, I applaud the effort and found the whole book very listenable.