I cannot honestly remember how I came by this novel, but I found it snugly sat on my book shelf, so thought I’d see what it was like.

Our protagonists, Dexter and Emma, meet on the night of their graduation (St. Swithin’s Day, if you must know) and a relationship of sorts develops. The  novel then charts this relationship and their respective lives over the next twenty years, St. Swithin’s Day, by St. Swithin’s Day.  This is a perfectly good narrative device and it is well executed here.

As the novel is essentially a romance, there is naturally much love, pain and laughter along the way. The other thing I must stress is just how funny – genuinely funny – the novel is. That is to say, whilst the content can sometimes be sad or bleak, the dialogue is laced with dry wit and rye observations, especially from Emma. Here is one example (and there are many, many such musings throughout the book):

What are you going to do with your life?” In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer… “Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.

One Day by David Nicholls

So, whilst I was not expecting an awful lot from the book when I started, I was pleasantly impressed and think this is very good and very enjoyable contemporary fiction. It strikes a pleasing balance between chronicling both the more trivial and the more poignant moments of life and also offers a decent mixture of hard-nosed cynicism and soft-hearted hope. Plus, as I mentioned above, I found it to be a very funny read.

She glanced at the other diners, all of them going into their act, and thought is this what it all boils down to? Romantic love, is this all it is, a talent show?

A very enjoyable read.

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