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One Day (Vintage Contemporaries Original) Paperback – CLV, June 15, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Hollywood-ready latest from Nicholls (The Understudy) makes a brief pit stop in book form before its inevitable film adaptation. (It's already in development.) The episodic story takes place during a single day each year for two decades in the lives of Dex and Em. Dexter, the louche public school boy, and Emma, the brainy Yorkshire lass, meet the day they graduate from university in 1988 and run circles around one another for the next 20 years. Dex becomes a TV presenter whose life of sex, booze, and drugs spins out of control, while Em dully slogs her way through awful jobs before becoming the author of young adult books. They each take other lovers and spouses, but they cannot really live without each other. Nicholls is a glib, clever writer, and while the formulaic feel and maudlin ending aren't ideal for a book, they'll play in the multiplex. (June)
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Review

"[An] instant classic. . . . One of the most hilarious and emotionally riveting love stories you’ll ever encounter." —People

“Big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable." —Nick Hornby, from his blog
 
"[Nicholls] has a gift for zeitgeist description and emotional empathy that's wholly his own. . . . [A] light but surprisingly deep romance so thoroughly satisfying." —Entertainment Weekly

“Nicholls offers sharp dialogue and wry insight that sounds like Nick Hornby at his best.” —The Daily Beast (A Best Book of the Summer)

"Fluid, expertly paced, highly observed, and at times, both funny and moving." —Boston Globe

"Those of us susceptible to nostalgic reveries of youthful heartache and self-invention (which is to say, all of us) longed to get our hands on Nicholls’s new novel. . . . And if you do, you may want to take care where you lay this book down. You may not be the only one who wants in on the answers." —New York Times Book Review

"Who doesn’t relish a love story with the right amount of heart-melting romance, disappointment, regret, and huge doses of disenchantment about growing up and growing old between quarreling meant-to-be lovers?" —Elle, Top 10 Summer Books for 2010

“A great, funny, and heart-breaking read.” —The Early Show [CBS]

"Funny, sweet and completely engrossing . . . The friendship at the heart of this novel is best expressed within the pitch-perfect dialogue/banter between the two." —Very Short List

“A wonderful, wonderful book: wise, funny, perceptive, compassionate and often unbearably sad . . . the best British social novel since Jonathan Coe’s What a Carve Up!. . . . Nicholls’s witty prose has a transparency that brings Nick Hornby to mind: it melts as you read it so that you don’t notice all the hard work that it’s doing.” —The Times (London)
 
“Just as Nicholls has made full use of his central concept, so he has drawn on all his comic and literary gifts to produce a novel that is not only roaringly funny but also memorable, moving and, in its own unassuming, unpretentious way, rather profound.” —The Guardian (London)
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Read an excerpt and download a free reading group guide from One Day by David Nicholls. [PDF]

Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Original
  • Paperback: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Limited Edition edition (June 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307474712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307474711
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (623 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I feel like I have wasted and invested too much time in this drivel for it to end this way.
elowyn
Towards the end I was half expecting the "twist" and just wanted to get it over with so I could finish the book.
bl
A great group of characters that were all well developed and the story was amazing written.
Tricia L. Hall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

354 of 368 people found the following review helpful By J. Luiz on January 10, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I absolutely loved this book. I became a big fan of Nicholls with his first novel (A Question of Attraction -- originally titled "Starter for Ten" with its U.K. edition.) I was a little letdown by his second -- The Understudy, which was fun, but not quite as good as his first. This book exceeds his first. He takes a great device -- following the lives of one couple on the same day over a period of 20 years -- and does a masterful job of storytelling with it. We go from the couple's idealistic college days -- they meet on the day of their graduation -- all the way into their late 30s, with all the physical and emotional changes that come during that timespan. We see the career missteps along the way, and all the various relationships they have while still remaining friends -- and the woman, Emma, always secretly in love with Dexter Mayhew, who has more than a few wild oats to sow before he realizes the woman he should be with is the one who's always been his best friend. The writing is absolutely marvelous. The dialogue is absolutely terrific -- the couple have a teasing/kneedling way of talking to each other and the reparteee between them remains funny and fresh throughout even though the novel is long -- 435 pages.

To say much more would be to give too much away. But if you like insightful books about relationships that can touch all of your emotions, this is the book for you. I think structurally the way Nicholls manages to take you on an extraordinary trip from the first page to the very last is a tour de force.

I had to buy this from amazon/uk because it was available in Britain a year before it became available in the United States, but I'm so happy I got it. This is definitely a book I will re-read several times -- and I hope Nicholls continues to have a prolific career.
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95 of 103 people found the following review helpful By baroquemaniac on January 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
After I had been ploughing through two brick-like books that had 'Literature' (with capital L) writ large all over them, this variation on the evergreen topic of 'Harry and Sally' was a most welcome relief: genuinely funny, liberal doses of acid repartee and shrewd observations, great care given to telling details and lots of fine craftsmanship spent on the staging of embarrassing encounters, disastrous reunions and relationships derailing. (I particularly liked the parlour game gone horribly wrong at the home of one of the leading man's prospective girlfriends.)

And what is more, from the very beginning there is beneath the surface charm a strong undercurrent steering proceedings away from mere lightweight banter into the more troubled waters of a true ,human comedy`. In the last chapters the author even sets about sounding depths for which the reader arguably has not been sufficiently prepared; I still wonder if these late twists add an extra layer of complexity or simply strike a false note and ultimately are Nicholls' misguided bid for being shelved with the serious authors.

The concluding pages are heavily fragrant with bitter-sweetness, again something an author introduces at his own risk; but on the other hand there is no denying that the unexpected narrative device used in these pages conveys an adeqaute impression of things coming full circle and being brought to a close.

And yes, I was moved, so no more niggling and five stars out of five.
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244 of 275 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Baird VINE VOICE on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One thing is certain: David Nicholls is an adept humor writer. There are plenty of amusing moments and sharp one-liners to be found in "One Day." Another mark in Nicholls' favor is that he understands how complicated life can be. His characters screw up (sometimes repeatedly), do unlikeable things (and quite frequently), and so his novel is lifted above standard romantic comedy offerings. I can certainly see why so many people enjoy this book so very much. But if I'm being completely honest I must admit that I am not one of those people, despite the good points I just mentioned.

My main problem with this book is that Nicholls takes the disagreeable components of several characters a little too far. Dexter (or Dex, as he is frequently called) goes from being the person you like "in an ironic, tongue-in-cheek, love-to-hate kind of way" (in the words of his agent) to someone you (or at least I) can't abide somewhere around the hundred page mark. It's one thing that some of the minor characters are irritating, but it's quite another when you just can't stand one half of your romantic pair. Dex is the kind of self-involved, pleasure-seeking guy you are meant to love anyway because his charisma is winning and his heart, well, might just be filled with good intentions, even if they rarely-to-never get realized. He's the kind of guy who would actually take the time to wonder that "he wasn't sure that struggle suited him" when pondering a career path. Indeed, the only reason he wants a career at all is so that he can have a line to impress women with (and since "Hi, nice to meet you, I'm an astronaut" isn't in the cards he'll just have to fall back on television).
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Vampires and Tofu on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ahhh...the joy of reading about two people being miserable for twenty years...

Well yes, there's that, however One Day is a very well written and a compelling read that will keep you up into the wee hours of the morning. I kept reading about this one and the premise sounded intriguing so I had to give it a try. The book follows Dexter and Emma for a span of twenty years, telling the story of where they are in their lives on one day ~ July 15 ~ every year. From everything I had heard (and read in the gazillion blurbs,) I expected this to be a love story, and while Emma does yearn to be with Dexter, love story it is not. What it is instead is a tale of lives misspent on bad decisions and two people who never quite figured out how to be happy.

One Day starts out twenty years ago, the morning after Dexter and Emma have hooked up. They've just graduated from college and their "real lives" are about to begin. Emma is idealistic and has harbored a crush on Dexter for a while. Dexter...well, Dexter doesn't seem to care very deeply about anything. They go their separate ways but remain friends over the years.He eventually gets a job as a Howard Stern like TV host and Emma begins working in a Mexican restaurant but dreams of writing. His life is a rapid descent into drinking, drugs, and sleeping with EVERY woman he crosses paths with. I found it really hard to have any sympathy for his character and to tell the truth, I kept hoping something awful would happen to him to make him wake up and quit being such an ass. But even when bad things did happen to him, he continued on with his selfish, self-destructive ways. Emma's life meanwhile is quiet and plods along slowly (marked by her own share of really bad decisions.
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