Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

Those of us who love David Nicholls’s work feel a sense of apprehension every time he announces a new project: can it possibly be as good as his last? And thankfully, we can all rest easy, it really can. We adored the grown up melancholy as well as the set-piece hilarity of his previous, 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 of the best things we’ve seen on television.

In his latest novel, Sweet Sorrow, he returns to first love, the subject of his smash hit bestseller One Day. Our hero is Charlie Lewis who has just finished his GCSEs in a small Sussex town in the summer of 1997. In describing the town, Nicholls recalls Tracey Thorn writing about her adolescence in her memoir Another Planet and how one’s hometown can seem a metaphor for a life where nothing materialises.


Five Books You Should Have Read (Instead of Lie About Having Read)

The best response to someone asking you about a book you haven’t read is to own up – immediately. The main reason for not lying about what you’ve read, of course, is that the lie somehow seems to stop you from actually getting round to the book. It’s also rather chic to be honest about this. I asked the bestselling novelist David Nicholls what he thought of DH Lawrence a few years ago and he said: ‘I would be more eloquent about this if I’d ever got to the end of one of his novels – and I never have.’