The Downturn: Read All About It

Scores of factual books have been written analysing the housing downturn across the western world but now the event is influencing fiction, too.

The downturn has for several years inspired TV shows. Spain has a soap opera set against the crash on the Costa del Sol and (with the sensitivity one has come to expect from the world’s only superpower) the US has reality shows about Dumpster Kids - children who salvage furniture from skips outside repossessed houses.

Great novels of the recent past like Tom Wolfe’s A Man In Full and Stephen King’s The Shining have been based in and around houses and sometimes documented the property business, of course, but it is only now that writers are using the downturn as a storyline.

As it is summer - although the weather may not yet know it - here is a list for those who want to take their work to the beach over the holidays:

Anne Enright - The Forgotten Waltz: Dublin suburbanites have affairs and family grief when not worrying about a 50 per cent drop in house prices;

John Lanchester - Capital: a vast story, a kind of literary urban sprawl, chronicles the rise and fall of people and prices in a gentrified central London street;

Jeff Lindsey - Double Dexter: the latest story about a blood-spatter-expert-cum-murderer (yes, honestly) is told against the backdrop of Miami’s housing crash;

Martin Amis - Lionel Asbo: A modern fairytale using a violent yob living in a huge mansion as a metaphor for declining house and moral values in modern England;

Mary Ellenton - Flipping: Lusty chick-lit tale of a female US realtor surviving, or not, as the housing market tumbles.

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