Tuesday, 12 June 2012

"One Day" - David Nicholls


I'm behind the curve when it comes to commenting on this book - it had fans long before the 2011 film came out starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, and it gained more readers in the wake of the resulting publicity.

My two-pennies worth of thoughts aren't so much about the book itself but about 'good fiction' in general. It's a topic I've been pondering on and off recently as I've tried to find books to colour in the bland spaces in routine or to relax with when I'm taking a break. From the raving reviews on the cover, online and in personal conversation, I know that I'm not alone in considering this book to be 'good fiction' but pinpointing why was harder.

Em and Dex are truly people in their own right. Like in any relationship with people I meet and rub shoulders with, I had my moments of irritation or found some of their decisions incomprehensible. But I defy anyone to not be drawn into the vortex of their emotional landscape. The magnetism of their unfolding lives was so strong that the experience of reading this book was all-consuming escapism, a life lesson in not taking people for granted and a masterclass in great writing - all in one.

Above all, it stayed with me. And that's what I enjoy the most. Whether through identifying with a character, taking on board a cautionary tale or - in this case - the sheer beauty of someone else's talent, for me, fiction is at its best when it leaves me with a clearer understanding of who I want to be in the real world.

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