We’re huge fans of David Nicholls’s books. We can remember watching deadlines whizz past after picking up One Day. We became engulfed in the grown up melancholy as well as some of the set-piece hilarity of his next, Booker-longlisted novel, Us, about a middle-aged couple in crisis. And his screenplay for the television version of Edward St Aubyn’s electric series of Patrick Melrose novels remains one the best things on TV. No pressure then, for David Nicholls whose fifth novel Sweet Sorrow is the subject of our August book club.
It’s the summer after a boy called Charlie Lewis finishes his GCSEs. His exams have not gone brilliantly and his father seems to be having some kind of breakdown at home, whilst his mother and sister have moved in with his mum’s new boyfriend. He is both desperate for the future to arrive and also dreading it.
Back in 2010 David Nicholls did a guest post for A Little Bird on his favourite songs, and you can find them here. According to a note at the back of the book, one of his inspirations for Sweet Sorrow was Pulp’s 1994 album, His ’n’ Hers. Have a listen to the track, David’s Last Summer and you’ll hear the chorus, “This is where you want to be/ There’s nothing else but you and her/ And how you use your time.” A story of first love, Sweet Sorrow is just what we feel like reading this August. Read along with us and we’ll reconvene on 5th September to discuss what we made of the book and whether it can possibly live up to the high benchmark of David Nicholls’s previous work.