IT HAD TO BE YOU
OUT NOW - Published on 23rd June 2011
IT HAD TO BE YOU, available straight into paperback from June 23rd 2011 at £7.99, was described by Jonathan Coe, writing in the Daily Telegraph, as ‘a beautiful, surprising, sometimes searingly painful account of the eight days between a married woman’s sudden death and her funeral.’
David writes: ‘I can’t beat that concise description of the book’s subject matter, and I feel very flattered buy the adjectives Jonathan used. It perhaps needs to be emphasised that it is (I hope!) also a humorous study of people’s attitudes to death, and all the social inconveniences it throws up.
‘I seek these days to find new challenges in my novels. The most recent, Obstacles To Young Love, was my first told in the present tense. The one before that, Cupid’s Dart, was my first told in the first person. IT HAD TO BE YOU is the first to take place over a short period of time. (I was once planning a story about two brothers that took place in one day. It was called “Saturday”. Ian McEwan beat me to it. This is true, and I’ve never revealed it before. I mean, he could at least have called his “Wednesday”, and I’d have stood a chance)
‘The short passage of time gave the book a structure that actually made it easier to write. When I sat at my desk in the morning and asked myself “What next?” the answer would be something very simple like “Breakfast”.
‘It’s also, less pervasively than Obstacles to Young Love, a book about humanism, about having values without believing in God. I’ve also described it as a book about Responsibility. If you don’t find that idea exciting, let me tell you hastily that it’s also a book about sex.
And then there’s that word “surprising”. Yes, I hope there are one or two surprises, but I can’t tell you about those or they wouldn’t be surprising.’
The central character of the book is James Hollinghurst, Managing Director of Globpack U.K. Like Reggie Perrin, James is middle-aged and emotionally confused. Like Reggie he is angry. But unlike Reggie he doesn’t seek escape, although he shouts at the radio in his car quite a lot He seeks to work out his problems, his traumas, his sadness, within the context of his family and business life.
David particularly enjoys writing female roles, and there are four important women in this book. There’s Deborah, the dead wife who dominates the story in her absence. There’s Helen, his mistress for many years. There’s Jane, his first love and closely involved in one of those surprises. And there’s Charlotte, his estranged runaway daughter.
Read, and enjoy.