Key Points:

SMALL WORLD

By Matt Beaumont

Random House, $34.99

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There is nothing particularly original in Matt Beaumont's idea or title for this book. The London of this story is a small world, where some paths cross and others collide.

What we have is a group of individuals whose lives connect and overlap. So far, so familiar. And yet Beaumont manages to hook you in - possibly because each character moves the story forward in the first person. This gives insight into the motives of each and creates tension, with the reader knowing more than each individual. It also causes clunks as Beaumont is forced to fill his characters' heads with expositional thoughts that seem unnatural. Plus it's frustrating to sit through the wilful way these people misunderstand each other's motives.

In the end though, there are enough twists and turns to keep you reading. You'll have forgotten it an hour after finishing, but you'll enjoy yourself in this particular small world.