Luke Brown grew up in a former fishing town on the coast of Lancashire. He works as a book editor and is a lecturer at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester. He writes regularly for the Financial Times; and sometimes for the TLS, London Review of Books and New Statesman. His debut novel My Biggest Lie was published in 2014, and his fiction has appeared in The White Review.
‘A raw, funny, surprisingly tender novel about belonging, class, and what makes a life a success. I loved the central brother/sister relationship and how the book confronted masculinity and the disparity between womanhood and the male experience. I grew so fond of the protagonist, and devoured the book in a day.’
‘It's a rare thrill to find a writer with Luke Brown's gift for nimbly navigating the maze of gentrification, Brexit, and the gig economy with dark, effervescent hilarity. Theft is a funhouse mirror held up to the grim absurdity of our political moment, a quick-witted tale of generational crisis, and an incredibly poignant and funny take on what happens after bad turns to worse.’
‘Luke Brown’s Theft is acerbic but tender, biting but elegiac, a snapshot of early twenty-first century life in which the unceasing prospect of catastrophe is the new normal.’
‘Theft is a witty, tender and insightful portrait of a city, and a life, at at time of crisis. It’s engrossing and charming and made me laugh many, many times.’
‘I love Luke Brown’s intimate detailing of both the tiny fault lines, and vast chasms that divide us. This Britain is both utterly recognisable and freshly revealed and the writing assured, funny and always humane.’
‘It’s rare to read something as cuttingly funny which is also this wise and humane, even while the plot moves like the twist of a knife. What do we choose? What’s already been chosen for us? In creating a protagonist and a scene so specific and forensically well-observed, Brown delivers a state of the nation / state of masculinity novel with the ebullience and momentum of a writer discovering his true and specific powers.’
‘Astute and funny.’
‘A moral novel about a crisis in masculinity [. . . a] funny, stylishly and unfrivolously written book.’
‘A story of radical instability . . . handled with poise, precision, brio and a bracing lack of sentimentality.’
'A black comedy of sexualised class war . . . refreshingly nuanced.'
'A frequently-hilarious meditation on class, and loss . . . Brown is an exceptionally stylish writer . . . The dialogue is crisp and true-to-life, the description intuitive. Every joke lands.'
'Theft is a clever book about a clever man . . . But moments of sincere tenderness . . . show us the unvarnished, slightly lost, charming man beneath the surface.'
‘While Theft ruminates on cultural fault lines, property and decline, it is never clunky or dour. [Brown’s] prose is brisk, unpretentious and witty . . . There is a lot to enjoy about the interplay of Theft’s mischievous, promiscuous, furious cast members, and how they come to exemplify an age.’
‘Theft is brilliant on divisions between people and places, tribalism and the death of debate . . . I raced through it.’
'An exhilarating novel about love, envy and revenge that, while always being a lot of fun, gives us a new perspective on the state of our divided, riven modern world.'
'Theft is a return to the decadent literary London of his hilarious debut My Biggest Lie.'
'An emotionally complex story of grief, desire, and Brexit . . . With bleak humor and sharp details, Brown memorably connects the personal and the political.'
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
‘A caustically funny, scalpel-sharp satire about a young man trying to get ahead, and a foothold, in a rapidly changing London and a recently divided Britain . . . Brown covers a lot of bases — property markets, sexual politics, youthful hedonism and the war of attrition that is Brexit — but at the heart of this bittersweet novel is a tender, perfectly realized human drama.’
‘Brown’s clever U.S. debut examines the challenges of contemporary life in London […] This tragicomedy successfully captures the feeling of what it’s like to yearn for a stable home, career, and love today.’
Booksellers on Theft
‘This isn't a short book, and I haven't been a very quick reader lately, but I simply couldn't get enough, and finished it in two days (two work days, on top of that). Weird and funny and satirical and sarcastic and tender and frustrated, it's narrated by a poor bookseller in London from a working-class northern town as he maneuvers daily life in the city and becomes infatuated with a young writer and increasingly drawn into an odd web of entanglements with her pundit partner and his rich communist daughter. There's some kind of big, generation-defining feeling to this novel, playing out and enacting many of our modern anxieties without pretending to have any answers, but rather leaving us with a complex, fragmentary, endlessly polyphonic stream of voices and perspectives, all wrapped-up in its compulsively readable narrator.’ Jacob Rogers, McNally Jackson
Praise for My Biggest Lie
‘A real page-tuner. Deeply sensual.’ Gary Shteyngart
‘I grabbed this for its mad adventure but came away with a gift for the heart.’ DBC Pierre
‘Brown's novel captures the sun-soaked sexiness of the city . . . and the hazy drug that is desire better than anything I have read in years.’ The Guardian
‘Rewarding and ambitious.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘An unashamedly literary novel that nonetheless wears its learning lightly and is totally unpretentious: a ludic, drunk, dizzying jaunt.’ Dazed & Confused
‘A scintillating, intelligent and uproariously funny trip into the excesses of storytelling’ Big Issue
‘Smart, zingy and extremely funny, this is a real treat.’ Paul Murray
‘It’s warmth and tenderness are hard to resist.’ Catherine O’Flynn