What a dreary bore. Here’s the thing about everyday life. It’s not that intense. I have no problem with books that deal with ordinary people, nor do I have an issue with books where nothing much happens (one of my all time favourites is The Crimson Petal & The White where barely anything happens for 800 pages). Provided the writing is enchanting enough, that is. The writing here is as tediously straightforward as the setting, the characters and their supposedly intense lives.
Set in a Sussex village over a 6 day period in May 2000, the book relates the lives of villagers as they interconnect with one another. Not a single one of them is remotely interesting, and the level of detail borders on the excruciating. Pages and pages and pages are devoted to one man phoning a sex chat line to get off, people watching and discussing an episode of Friends, someone buying a dress for the opening of the Glyndebourne Opera season. Dull in the extreme. Self important bores being self indulgently boring, I hated all of them.
I read books to escape. If you’re going to ground a book in the mundane everyday world we all inhabit, you have to make it really dazzling and you have to make the reader care about the characters. This overwritten, under-plotted, plodding bore is a massive failure on all levels for me and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I won’t be reading any more of Nicholson’s work, thank you very much