It has been exactly a year and four months since I blogged about Tigers in Red Weather. I have several personal reasons for this long hiatus and I would like to move on by apologising for it and hoping that I am able to sustain some regularity from here on. So to everyone I have missed this last year or so: hi. It feels good and right to be back, I shall visit all your blogs soon! And now on to the book..
One Day by David Nicholls starts with the (shall we say serendipitous) meeting of Dexter and Emma on the night of the 15th of July, 1988, the night of their graduation. The book then follows the next twenty odd years of their lives on this particular day, year after year.
Set in Britain towards the end of the eighties, Dexter and Emma belong to the generation that perhaps lived brighter and harder than mine does. Rebelled harder, held on to ideals longer, also, in some cases, wasted away that much quicker. There really isn't much to say vis-a-vis the plot line; it would ruin the book for those who haven't read it so I will content myself with just giving my views on it. When you begin the book, you get a sense of their own idea of indestructibility about themselves; it might be graduation night nostalgia, it might be something else entirely, but they are both flying. Both feel the world to be infinitely conquerable in their own respective senses.
With Dexter and Emma, there is no escaping reality. From the arrogance of their twenties to their jaded, exhausted forties, you, the reader, are forced to feel as they feel, what they feel. Theirs is a complex, multi-layered relationship, at once nourishing and draining.
The story of Dexter and Emma is about life. In all its funny, sorrowful, joyous and dreary sense. David Nicholls has created two very ordinary characters and portrayed them with an honesty that will have you wincing at times. This is life, in three-dimensional view, confronting you in single-spaced bold font. I read it at a time when I was going through a bit of a personal crisis, which maybe why it brought out severe existentialist thoughts in me. But why shy away? Nicholls almost seems to tell you, this thing called life, it is what it is, all I have done, is given you my perspective on what could have been the lives of two very real people. Is there hope? Absolutely. In spite of a couple of sleepless nights, I am glad I read this book; I don't know if I will ever read it again but I would not like to have not read it at all.
Excerpt from the end of the book:
This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.
And then it was over. 'So. I'll see you around,' he said, walking slowly backwards away from her.
'I hope so,' she smiled.
'And I hope so too. Bye, Em.'