Saturday, 17 December 2011

Thoughts on... One Day

One Day is a book written by a man who is very good at writing the beginnings of stories but not so skilled at ending them. Each chapter for 'twenty years' Nicholls restarts his story with minimal info dump (barring some exceptions which become more frequent as the book goes on). His prose is clever, and original. The idea of making Brechtian love was to the drama student in me a phrase to steal and cherish.

However Nicholls can tend to wax wordy and will at times rephrase the same sentimental idea twice in a chapter. As they say, it takes one to know one. At the moment, I am revising a novel and I do this OFTEN.

If I had written this book I would have ended it in Paris; I am aware that changes the tone of the novel entirely. As it stands, the ending is more like the story's excess baggage for which the reader has had to pay. It seems to me a better idea to write a fantastic romance story than to write an average story in the literary fiction genre, even if your value judgement is that literary fiction is BETTER than romance. (Also: it's not. It's just different. There is good and bad writing in all genres.)

(If you haven't read the book, stop here. Spoilers coming!)

Killing off Emma Morley, to be frank, appears to have been the solution to the problem of how to end a novel in which plot is essentially life. Life ends by death. However, the death itself will have you rereading, scratching your head and saying "wait what?"

What comes after us the convenient and largely unbelievable tying of loose ends, bar one.

Why did Dexter never go to AA?????

The last four or so chapters essentially demoted what was a five star book to a three star one.

Three out of five empty wine bottles. Brilliant phrasing can never in a million years cover up a dud ending.

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