Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Thoughts on reading: One Day

Book club time! This month we read One Day by David Nicholls. It's mainstream fiction of the Nick Hornby type.

I don't really know what to say about this. The writing was amazing. It was so deft, assured and done with such a light touch that I was left feeling very disappointed that this talent was wasted on such a dull story. Nicholls is a great writer. One Day is not a great book.

I quite like the concept of it. One Day tells the story of a twenty year relationship via one day (the same day) per year. Again, Nicholls ability to sketch the characters in a couple of scenes that show a year's worth of growth and change, without info dump or exposition, is exceptional. But the story is a fairly pedestrian romance between two characters that aren't very interesting or likeable. I spent the book wishing Nicholls was writing sci-fi or fantasy.

The end of the book was also disappointing. One of the characters dies. It's really abrupt and there's no foreshadowing, which could be interpreted as an admirable commitment to realism or as the only way to avoid the dreary slide into domesticity that seemed so inevitable. I'm going for the latter. Give it a miss, unless you want to admire the technical skill.

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