The Conclave, By Michael Bracewell

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The Independent Culture

Capuchin has quietly built up a stylish, distinctive reprint list that takes in both fixtures from the canon (Swift to Tolstoy) and under-appreciated gems from more recent decades.

Just as novelists queue up to try the great City boom-and-bust novel of the early 21st century, this timely re-issue shows how elegantly and movingly Michael Bracewell commanded this terrain for the Thatcherite 1980s.

First published in 1992, The Conclave follows the aesthete-turned-City slicker Martin and his high-maintenance partner Marilyn through the gilded delights, and disappointments, of London's last gross spending binge.

Tender, acute, dense with rich detail of those narcissistic times, Bracewell's chronicle shuns cheap satire and lends his Yuppie couple a Gatsby-like melancholy in the midst of affluence. Let's hope he returns to fiction soon.