The Normals
David Gilbert, Faber, £10.99
Billy Schine is a Harvard graduate temping at 28; his student loan company has mentioned violence. So he runs off to become a medical guinea-pig, and enters the world of hip literary fiction, where the people are mysterious, the conversation is intricately but stiffly patterned, and the rumble of intellectual machinery can be sensed through the floor. Stylish, but contains no one you’re meant to feel for.