OBSTACLES TO YOUNG LOVE
OBSTACLES TO YOUNG LOVE is the story of two young lovers and, as the title suggests, of the obstacles that their love faces. The first paragraph of the book is ‘Three mighty obstacles threaten the burgeoning love of childhood sweethearts Timothy Pickering and Naomi Walls They are Steven Venables, a dead curlew, and God.’
The book spans thirty years from 1978 to 2008. Timothy, a budding taxidermist, and Naomi, an aspiring actress, fall in love while playing the parts of Romeo and Juliet in their school play. But things go wrong and they part.
Over the next twenty five years their paths cross more than once, but by then they are both married. In fact they both get married, are divorced, and marry again.
Eventually, both divorced for the second time, they meet at a twenty fifth year reunion at their old school. Will they finally be able to get things together?
Joanne Harris has read the book and has given a lovely quote: ‘Thank goodness for David Nobbs! He carries on the comic tradition of P G Wodehouse with this marvellous new book; a sweet and touching love story written with his trademark sly and subversive humour. A perfect antidote to these dark times.’ Wow!
David writes: ‘This is my first book for my new publishers, Harper, who are of course part of Harper Collins. My aim has been to write a romantic novel which is entertaining but which also has some substance. Although I was confirmed in the Church of England, I am now an atheist and a member of the British Humanist Association. Timothy and Naomi make the journey that I have made, Timothy more slowly and more intensely than Naomi. This journey is the backbone of the book.
‘I have tried to make this a rich book, filled with interesting characters, and taking Timothy and Naomi, and us, far from their humble roots in the Northern town of Coningsfield, in the shadow of the Pennines.
‘As I get older I find that I am making little changes to my narrative technique in order to help me find the energy and inspiration needed to write a novel. CUPID’S DART was my first book written in the first person. This is my first book written in the present tense. I’ve enjoyed doing it, and I would welcome comments on this aspect of it from you, my readers.
‘I also decided to combine imaginary settings with real ones. Coningsfield is imaginary, as are the pubs that Timothy’s mates take him to on their ‘Pennine Piss-ups’. The places I describe in Norfolk are imaginary too. But the story takes us to London, Peru, Paris and Seville, and here I have described the backgrounds with what I hope is total accuracy. I am not making any particular point in doing this. It’s just the style of this particular book. In my next novel, almost completed, I am leaving all the backgrounds much more vague, which is a new challenge.
‘I’ve had a lot of fun writing this book. I’ve particularly enjoyed paying tribute to the greatly misunderstood art and craft of taxidermy, and I’ve relished creating three really bad sitcoms for poor Naomi. Sadly, great though Perrin was and I hope is, I do have painful personal experience of bad sitcoms.
‘The enthusiasm of my new publishers has given me a feeling of real excitement over this book. I know that there are many fans of Reggie Perrin out there and not all of them even know that it began as a book. If you haven’t read my books, please do start with this one. And, if you like it, tell your friends to read it. If you don’t like it, tell your enemies to read it. I need you all. Thank you.’