One Day – David Nicholls


The Unbearable Lightness of Being, spine creased at the ‘erotic’ bits. The problem with these fiercely individualistic girls was that they were all exactly the same. Another book: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Silly bloody fool, he thought, confident that it was not a mistake he would ever make.

So they were pen pals now, Emma composing long, intense letters crammed with jokes and underlining, forced banter and barely concealed longing; two-thousand-word acts of love on air-mail paper. Letters like compilation tapes, were really vehicles for unexpressed emotions and she was clearly putiing far too much time and energy into them.

Emma got a job pulling pints in the local pub, and time passed, and she felt her brain begin to soften like forgotten at the back of the fridge.

The attraction of a life dvoted to sesation, pleasure and self would probably wear thin one day, but there was still plenty of time for that yet.

It was as if the air was somehow different here; not just how it tasted and smelt, but the element itself. İn London the air was something you peered through, like a neglected fish tank.

Our Special Brew sits heavy on the plate, with a strong hint of council estate, old shopping trolley and urban decay. Goes paricularly well with domestic violence!…

…discovering once again that reading and writing were not the same –you couldn’t just soak it up then squeeze it out again.

Envy was just the tax you paid on success.

No, friends were like clothes: fine while they lasted but eventually they wore thin or you grew out of them.

She had been hoping for understated sophistication, but she felt like a make-over, abandoned halfway through.

“Sometimes you are aware when your great moments are happening, and sometimes they rise from the past. Perhaps it’s the same with people.” James Salter, Burning the Days

Nothing in the world could be more melancholy than that unwanted engagement ring. It sat in the siutcase in their hotel room, emanating sadness like radiation.

Emma took the scrap of paper and peered at it dutifully. The beauty of the ultrasound scan is something that only parents can appreciate, but Emma had seen these things before and knew what was required of her. ‘Beautiful’, she sighed, though in truth it could have been a Polaroid of the inside of his pocket.

But there’s nothing transferable about the miracle of childbirth, or parenthood in general. Emma doesn’t want to talk about the strain of broken sleep; hadn’t they heard the rumours of this in advance?

The city of Sartre and De Beauvoir, Beckett and Proust, and here she was too, writing teenage fiction, albeit with considerable commercial success.


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