As I’m reluctantly dragged into the world at 7am by the Today programme (more cuts, closures and deforestation) my thoughts invariably turn to escape. For those of us who remember a gentler, happier world, Henry Sutton’s sixth novel, Get Me Out of Here, (Harvill Secker) echoes a familiar sentiment. Through antihero Matt Freeman, Sutton has brilliantly captured the frustrations and grind of daily life; dealing with call centres, blank faced shop assistants, public transport, politicians’ bluff. Freeman’s paranoia balloons into murderous tendencies; Sutton’s paranoia, on the other hand, feeds his writing – and in particular his satire.
What I’ve always admired about Sutton’s books is their dissections of modern life and breathless claustrophobia. He’s brilliant at existential ennui, the stream-of consciousness behind a flight attendant’s lipstick smile (Flying), the nail-biting tedium of waiting to exchange on a house (The Househunter). Given his psychological acumen, it’s not surprising that Sutton should have turned to crime. He’s just co-written a crime novel under the pen name James Henry. Personally, I prefer the gentler stuff.
Henry Sutton is the author of six novels, a book of short stories and a co-written crime novel. He reviews widely, has judged a number of literary awards and teaches creative writing at the UEA. He lives in Norwich with his family.