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Noughties: A Novel by [Masters, Ben]
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Noughties: A Novel Kindle Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Eliot Lamb is a young man about to face the truth and himself, despite his best efforts to avoid both, in this first novel by a 25-year-old Oxford graduate. Staring down a long night of typical laughter and drinking, Eliot and his fellow Oxford mates must grapple with the questions, fears, and doubts that beset all students on the eve of college graduation as they find themselves about to be thrust into the real world, in which they still have little idea how to navigate. “Our eyes dilated, flooded by harsh reality. Game over.” The somewhat hapless Eliot adds to his own complications through his confused dealings with current potential flame Ella and ex-girlfriend Lucy. Running around town to all the usual joints on this final night of youthful freedom, Eliot hashes through his own history and his potential future while riffing on such modern ambiguities as texting, hooking up, and the decisions, planned or not, that will shape him for years to come. Martin Amis fans will be pleasantly surprised by this debut of an author almost as youthful as his characters. --Julie Trevelyan


"[Masters] writes with astonishing awareness and clarity…It’s inevitable that we will flash back to our own raucous college years, but Masters has a freshness and bite that forces us to take a slight step back, even as we laugh…Masters perfectly voices the simultaneous feeling of youth and exhaustion that all twenty-somethings face.” 
New York Daily News 

[Masters] has captured the idiom and universe of his subjects perfectly.”
The Daily Beast

Praise from the UK for Noughties

“A lively, bittersweet hymn to student days. . . Funny and tender. . . . Noughties is a caustic, street-smart novel for our times.”
Financial Times

“[Noughties] is intelligent and entertaining and, like early Martin Amis, it is an attempt to say something honest and even modest under a superficially flashy stylistic surface.”
The Sunday Times

“This confident debut will infuriate you, make you laugh, trigger lots of nostalgia and leave you with a knowing smile”
Time Out London

“All-singing, all-dancing style, full of flourishes and wordplay.  A genuine comic talent.”
Daily Mail

“Masters is expert on the rhythms and textures of the student experience.”
The Times Literary Supplement

“A faultless prose style. . . . Moments of brilliance. . . . Noughties triumphs.”
Dazed and Confused

Product Details

  • File Size: 3518 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Hogarth; Reprint edition (October 9, 2012)
  • Publication Date: October 9, 2012
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008ED5FIW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,240,941 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel takes place on the final night at Oxford University of the just-graduated Eliot Lamb and a group of his friends. They spend it at a pub, where they drink; then at a bar where they drink a lot more and finally at a club, where they drink even more. The evening is punctuated by vomiting and at least two bar fights. Thus the ways of the young British intellectual elite.

While this is going on, Eliot takes us on a series of flashbacks that fill us in on the previous three years and on his love affair with Lucy, the girl from his home town, and on his relationship with brilliant fellow-student Ella. And we also get some philosophical musings about Eliot's generation which has reached what passes for adulthood during the first decade of the 21st century, hence the title, "The Noughties" (nought being a Britishism for zero).

There are lots of Britishisms in this book. For example, I discovered that the way to describe someone who is physically attractive, what we would have called a "right knockout" many eons ago, is to say that they are "well fit."

Eliot's generation is apparently addicted most of all to texting and alcohol. It is a generation that is all about "performance," he says, about appearance, about preening and being cool. "Even our language is performed; the twenty-first century phrasebook all cliche and slang; empty razzamatazz and Neanderthal droning." Unfortunate is the author that writes the epitaph of his own book. Sex is a cold word for this generation, also all about performance and tallies. Love rarely figures. And the drinking -- never has the phrase "getting wasted" seemed more apt. All that young brainpower wasted.

Eliot comes from a state school but he's a double snob.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked this up because I tend to like contemporary writing by young British writers, and this tale of the last night at Oxford sounded promising. Eliot (our narrator), Jack, Scott, and Sanjay are out for a night of epic drinking (the book's three acts mirror the three watering holes on their crawl: pub --> bar --> club), along with ladies Ella, Abi, and Megan, to celebrate the end of their undergraduate days. Intermingled with the night's events are many flashbacks of Eliot's time at Oxford and before, as well as his recounting odd dreams, and a barrage of texts from his girlfriend back home. Unfortunately, the book manages to be simultaneously boring, annoying, and too clever for it's own good, which is quite a trick. It's boring because there is no plot, the general theme of "wow, I have no idea what to do after uni..." is beyond trite, and Eliot's main dilemma of what to do about the girl he has back home is entirely uninteresting. It's annoying because Eliot is an entirely unsympathetic and uninteresting jackass, and none of the supporting characters have any depth to them whatsoever, and as they get drunker and drunker, this only becomes amplified. It's too clever because it appears to be jam packed with "literary resonances, allusions, quotations" (per the author's note, but I prefer to call them "wink-winks") that presumably are there in order to make sure the reader knows that despite writing a profanity-laden book about a booze-up, complete with vomiting, the author is a well-read dude. I have to confess, by the end of the first part (page 107), I found little reason to read on -- I didn't connect in any way with any of the characters, and I didn't care about their concerns. There was exactly one memorable chunk in these first hundred pages: Eliot's recounting of his admissions interview for Oxford, which was very well told and amusing. But a handful of decent pages out of a hundred just isn't a good enough ratio for me to invest any more time with these characters.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From the title you might think that this novel explores the generation growing up in the previous decade. Aside from some text messaging, there's nothing to suggest anything contemporary about this story. It's the same vapid and empty party kids going to university because they can but not because they particularly want to. They drink and shag and drink some more. There's nothing millennial about that. The main characters start off empty and finish the same. None of them figure anything out even though the author sets up plenty of opportunities for his lunkhead characters to develop.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have a soft spot for books whose plots revolve around students and their lives on college campuses, e.g. The Secret History, Brideshead Revisited, On Beauty,etc. When I saw this was set in Oxford, I did not hesitate, thinking I was in for a treat ( blame it on my Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis addiction - both investigative dramas set in scenic Oxford). Sadly, there was not much I liked in this debut novel.

The protagonist of this novel is Eliot, who is about to graduate from the prestigious Oxford University, and is out drinking with his friends on his last night as a student. Through a series of flashbacks readers learn about Eliot, his humble background, his small town girlfriend, Lucy, and other things that are presumably important to understanding what Eliot is about and how he feels about people and events.

Trouble is, I disliked the author's style. I was an English major myself, but come on, this is supposed to be a novel, something I pick up because I want to enjoy the story, find characters that I can relate to, and engage with the plot. Unfortunately this did not happen - Eliot is too self-absorbed to be interesting, the descriptions of his relationships are tepid, and even when Eliot is trying to be circumspect and reflecting upon life, it comes across as contrived. The phrases used come across as overbearing and pretentious, and don't get me started on the copious amounts of literary references.
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