Monday, 19 December 2011

Emma Morley

Last Sunday I overcame my ex-indie kid horror of reading a book that many many many Other People* like and bought One Day.

I am, of course, an idiot. It's not One Day's fault that it's been weighed down with soul-deadening adjectives like 'heartwarming' and 'page-turning'. It's sweet and it works.

It's also blog-relevant because it does the London thing of showing emotions though place names. A character who lives In Earls Court must be unhappy, moving to Clapton means misery, while owning a house in Richmond condemns you to comfortable despair.

The lead character is happy around the Hornsey Road. Happy in a way that catches the scruffiness of the road, the way it is out of sync with the energetic gentrifying forces across London, the sense (in short) of its existing in a slightly different parallel universe.

'They lapse into silence again as the radio burbles on and Emma closes her eyes once more and tries to imagine herself unpacking cardboard boxes, finding space for her clothes, her books. In truth she prefers the atmosphere of her current flat, a pleasant, vaguely bohemian attic off the Hornsey Road. Belsize Park is just too neat and chichi.'


'Two miles away, just off the Hornsey Road, Emma climbs the flights of stairs, unlocks the front door and feels the cool, stale air of a flat that has been unoccupied for four days. She makes tea, sits at her desk, turns on her computer, and stares at it for the best part of an hour.'

*People who go to book groups,** read authors' biographies because they want to know what their novels are really about, identify with characters, never read short stories or poetry or things written in other languages or before they were born, and don't feel at home in second hand bookshops. The literary equivalent of the fans of Coldplay*** or We Will Rock You. You know, those people.

** Okay, so I go to a book group. But it's different. No, I can't explain why.

*** Okay, so I'll forgive them for this.


  1. Those two paragraphs were the only ones to excite me in that book.

  2. I did like the book! But I didn't find it as great as all the hype made it out to be!

  3. What a coincidence! Today I sighed and agreed to buy The Book Which in Being Read In Every Carriage On Victoria Line for the last N months. And I run into your post - it is a form of sign of doing the right thing.

    The note about Other People is amusing, because in my country of origin Other People do not read anything which was written AFTER they were born, poetry in, non-fiction out.

  4. @Janez,

    Few things could make me happier than having a Russian dance enthusiast reading my blog. I'll make good use of Google Translate.

    I wonder why reading habits are so different. Curious.