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One Day [Paperback]

David Nicholls
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,775 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Feb 2010
'I can imagine you at forty,' she said, a hint of malice in her voice. 'I can picture it right now.' He smiled without opening his eyes. 'Go on then.' 15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. From the author of the massive bestseller STARTER FOR TEN.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; Reprint edition (4 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780340896983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340896983
  • ASIN: 0340896981
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,775 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Nicholls trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. His TV credits include the third series of Cold Feet, Rescue Me, and I Saw You, as well as a much-praised modern version of Much Ado About Nothing and an adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, both for BBC TV. David has continued to write for film and TV as well as writing novels, and he has twice been nominated for BAFTA awards.

David's bestselling first novel, STARTER FOR TEN, was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club in 2004, and David has written the screenplays for film versions of both STARTER FOR TEN (released in 2006, starring James McAvoy) and THE UNDERSTUDY (not yet released).

David Nicholls' third novel, ONE DAY, was published in hardback in 2009 to extraordinary critical acclaim, and stayed in the Sunday Times top ten bestseller list for ten weeks on publication. It has since gone on to sell over 2 million copies and has been translated into thirty-seven languages. ONE DAY won the 2010 Galaxy Book of the Year Award. David wrote the screenplay for Lone Scherfig's film adaptation starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway, which was released in 2010.

David's fourth novel, US, has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014.

Product Description


It's rare to find a novel which ranges over the recent past with such authority, and even rarer to find one in which the two leading characters are drawn with such solidity, such painful fidelity, to real life that you really do put the book down with the hallucinatory feeling that they've become as well known to you as your closest friends. Hard to imagine anyone encountering characters as well drawn as this and not recognizing the extraordinary talent of the writer who has created them. (Jonathan Coe Guardian Books of the Year)

I finished it last night and I'm still quite wobbly and affected by it. It was BRILLIANT. . . the jealously nearly made me puke. I wish I'd written this book (Marian Keyes)

The ultimate zeitgeist love story for anyone who ever wanted someone they couldn't have (Adele Parks)

Big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable . . . brilliant on the details of the last couple of decades of British cultural and political life (Nick Hornby)

The novel of the year - a brilliantly funny and moving will-they, won't-they romance tracing a relationship on the same day each day for two decades (Heat)

It is a cleverly and astutely constructed book - but that is worthy of a mere footnote compared with its emotional impact. I am not ashamed to say that upon finishing it I pressed it to my chest as a big fat tear splashed onto its upturned spine (The Times Book Club)

You'd be hard pressed to find a sharper, sweeter romantic comedy this year than the story of Dex and Em (Independent)

Nicholls' book is the sort of thing you can't put down, and I read it over a weekend, creeping upstairs to gulp down another chapter when I should have been downstairs preparing dinner of helping with homework (Dylan Jones)

I felt that I had been emotionally taken apart by the very best. This perfectly executed novel is a reminder that reading can be the finest entertainment there is (Guardian)

If you measure your love for a book by the number of times you buy it for people, then my favourite is ONE DAY by David Nicholls. I read it about a year ago and must have bought it for at least 20 people since (The Times Book Club)

We could fill a page with descriptive proclamations of its brilliance, but we'll stick with intoxicating, engrossing and verging on genius. If this has never graced your bedside table, then go directly to the nearest bookshop, purchase one copy and start 2010 with a read that has taken the literary world by storm (Daily Record)

It made me laugh and sob, and the characters just walk off the page into your head, where they remain. How I wish I'd written it, as does every novelist I know (Polly Williams)

A totally brilliant book about the heartbreaking gap between the way we were and the way we are...the best weird love story since THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. Every reader will fall in love with it. And every writer will wish they had written it. (Tony Parsons)

A wonderful, wonderful book: wise, funny, perceptive, compassionate and often unbearably sad . . . the best British social novel since Jonathan Coe's WHAT A CARVE UP! . . . Nicholls's witty prose has a transparency that brings Nick Hornby to mind: it melts as you read it so that you don't notice all the hard work that it's doing (The Times)

The funniest, loveliest book I've read in ages. Most of all it is horribly, cringingly, absolutely 100% honest and true to life: I lived every page. (Jenny Colgan)

I really loved it . . . it's absolutely wonderful . . . just so moving and engaging (Kate Mosse)

With its beautifully rounded, real characters and deeply poignant storytelling, this is one of the year's best novels. (Heat)

With a nod to WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, this funny, emotionally engaging third novel from David Nicholls traces the unlikely relationship between Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew . . . Told with toe-curlingly accurate insight and touching observation . . . If you left college sometime in the Eighties with no clear idea of what was going to happen next, or who your lifelong friends might turn out to be, this one's a definite for your holiday suitcase. If you didn't, it still is . . . The feelgood film must surely be just around the corner. I can't wait. (Daily Mail)

Page by page, the funniest book of the year (Uncut)

[Nicholls] has both a very deft prose style and a great understanding of human emotion. His characterisation is utterly convincing . . . ONE DAY is destined to be a modern classic. (Daily Mirror)

A moving and feel-good read. Nicholls is an expert at capturing that essence of young adulthood, first love, heartbreak, and the tangled, complicated course of romance . . . Deserves to be the must-read hit of the summer. (News of the World)

I couldn't think of anyone who wouldn't love this book (Simon Mayo Books Panel, BBC Radio Five Live)

Nicholls captures superbly the ennui of post graduation . . . The writing is almost faultless, there's a great feeling for the period and it's eminently readable. (Herald)

David Nicholls' third novel captivates love in a way that's real and unassuming . . . Relaying the essence of friendship and unrequited love with fall-off-your-seat humour, this is an unputdownable romance for the 21st century (SHE)

You're gripped from the opening pages . . . Nicholls, author of STARTER FOR TEN, writes faultless, engaging dialogue and keeps up a cracking pace. You will find this hard to put down (Psychologies)

As a study of what we once were and what we can become, it's masterfully realised (Esquire)

Perfect for the beach or summer in the city (In Style)

An off-kilter romantic comedy with charm to spare (Harpers Bazaar)

A delicious love story (Sunday Herald)

funny and moving (Scotsman)

David STARTER FOR TEN Nicholls is back with this smart comedy, packed with the mistakes, mismatches and meandering conversations that make up real life (Marie Claire, Book of the Month)

A modern fairy tale, slickly put together. A gifted story-teller with lots of technical savvy. (Scottish Review of Books)

An edgy romantic tale (Woman & Home)

I loved this book . . . moved me profoundly (Amanda Ross)

Snort-out-loud stuff . . . it deserves to be a huge hit (thelondonpaper)

A romantic comedy that the gents needn't be ashamed to read. Chronicling a friendship spanning two decades, Nicholls perfects the will-they-won't-they trick, starting with his leads at university in the 1980s and poking gentle fun at the decades following. A genuine tear-jerker as well as laugh-out-loud funny. (Independent on Sunday Books of the Year 2009)

Intoxicating, engrossing and verging on genius (Daily Record, Scotland)

A compulsive read you'll want to devour in one sitting (Woman)

This is a real cancel-all-calls, leave-me-alone book (The Times Book Club)

I can't recommend it more highly (The Word)

A cross between Jonathan Coe and Nick Hornby, this is romantic, sharp and very English (Scotsman)

Laugh out loud funny with razor dialogue (Nadia Sawalha)

One Day should come with a health warning attached: This Book is Seriously Addictive (Belfast Telegraph)

It's Love Actually meets High Fidelity meets This Life - i.e. perfect. (Sydney Sunday Herald)

It's a book that speaks to my generation, and I found it totally gripping. The characters are complex and their relationship uncertain. I don't want to give away the ending, but everyone who has read it agrees how powerful it is. (Ed Miliband)

I know this is The Book That Everyone Has Read, but it's especially a book for my life . . . There is something devastatingly sad about it. The writing reminds you how, when you were young, despite everything you thought you knew, you never fully grasped the transience and precious power of youth itself. (Jeremy Vine in We Love This Book)

Book Description


ONE DAY is the multi-million copy bestselling novel that brilliantly captures the experiences of a generation.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to end. 27 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I only downloaded this book because it was number 1 on the bestsellers list on Kindle and I fancied reading something different to my usual ( mysteries, horrors etc ). I never read romantic novels as they bore me to tears.
What a delight this book proved to be. I love the idea of the same day every year and watching the characters develop to the point that I feel I grew up with each of them. I love the flaws in Emma and Dexter and the real people they become. This is a really enjoyable, easy book to read and before you know it you are completely emmersed in their world. This book is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I could not put it down. Read the whole think in one go thinking 'just one more chapter'. I am really rather upset it's over.
Give it a go - you'll love it.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now, seriously, this book is great fun 5 Jan 2010
After I had been ploughing through two brick-like books that had 'Literature' (with capital L) writ large all over them, this variation on the evergreen topic of 'Harry and Sally' was a most welcome relief: genuinely funny, liberal doses of acid repartee and shrewd observations, great care given to telling details and lots of fine craftsmanship spent on the staging of embarrassing encounters, disastrous reunions and relationships derailing. (I particularly liked the parlour game gone horribly wrong at the home of one of the leading man's prospective girlfriends.)

And what is more, from the very beginning there is beneath the surface charm a strong undercurrent steering proceedings away from mere lightweight banter into the more troubled waters of a true ,human comedy`. In the last chapters the author even sets about sounding depths for which the reader arguably has not been sufficiently prepared; I still wonder if these late twists add an extra layer of complexity or simply strike a false note and ultimately are Nicholls' misguided bid for being shelved with the serious authors.

The concluding pages are heavily fragrant with bitter-sweetness, again something an author introduces at his own risk; but on the other hand there is no denying that the unexpected narrative device used in these pages conveys an adeqaute impression of things coming full circle and being brought to a close.

And yes, I was moved, so no more niggling and five stars out of five.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spookily accurate! 14 Feb 2011
If you were born between 1965 and 1975 and ever had a 'we're just good friends, honest' relationship with a fellow student - you will enjoy this. You will cringe.
I laughed out loud at many of the observations - the angst of twenty-somethings' relationships, the ritual of thirty-somethings' weddings, the horror of other people's baby-bliss. The disbelief that any of us would ever turn 40.
Loved it, loved it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Didn't like the book at all. First, I couldn't adhere to the jumps in the timeline. Sometimes, the gap in actions were too much and I couldn't understand the evolution from one year to the next. Second, and more importantly, I was REALLY put off by all the alcohol and drug excesses of the main characters. I'd say 90% of the story, Dex is drunk or totally stoned. And without giving anything away, the stunts he pulls are truly upsetting. I was so upset I couldn't get to sleep one night. Finally, I think the description "romantic novel" would quite fit the bill. Yes, it's the story about Dex and Emma but, honestly, except for 50 pages in the book, they're not together and live parallel lives.

So I really wouldn't recommend this book - unless you're forwarned that it's gross, upsetting and sad.
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879 of 962 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like life, you'll like this 18 Jun 2009
From being a celebrity in the 90's to having a boss with a large beard, nothing is shied away from in this big pot of life. This book follows every 15th July from 1988 (end of their studentship) to near present day in the lives of two characters; Emma and Dexter, and their relationship with each other and others. Don't be put off by the length (430 odd pages) of this book - it is so ridiculously easy to read it makes the act of putting on a DVD seem like overexertion. That's not to say that the writing isn't thickly layered - it's stuffed with literary calories. Emma and Dexter jump out of the book and start living with you, eat your food and argue over the top of your head about the worthlessness of Scrabble. So much of the sharp-razor sharp dialogue sticks a grin on your face, people are unlikely to sit next to you on the train (read in extra comfort).

So there's Emma: warm, funny and cataclysmically directionless. Dexter: confident, arrogant, and transparent. The book then bends these attributes into the three dimensional. Their relationship treads its own path - there's no inevitability in what the next year will bring - their interactions with others the same. Every supporting character, whether they're on one page or a hundred is given their own space to be believable and interesting, and most likely make quite a bit of a mess of things.

The book finished - I'm missing them both. Time for them to come and bother you.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
By davidT
I enjoyed the first seven-eighths of this book as an above-average rites-of-passage yarn about graduates entering the big world, making mistakes, and then settling down. Some engaging characters, some irritating, all at times infuriating. So far, so comfortable.
Then suddenly, it was like being simultaneously hit between the eyes and in the stomach. What??? I went back and read the two previous pages again - there was no way he could mean literally what he seemed to have said. But he did, and the book was turned inside out.
I had read other reviews, when I was halfway through or less, and some compared it to The Time Traveller's Wife. I couldn't see this at the time, but having finished the book, I begin to get the point - whilst the two novels are different in plot, characters and outcome, there's the same skilful handling by the author, who has to continually keep track of what the reader knows about the characters together with what the characters know about themselves and each other.
The full story only fits together right at the end, but there's no point skipping to the last page to find out what happens - the last few pages are in fact in the nature of a prologue, though they come right at the end. Don't understand? Well, without spoiling it, I can't really be any clearer.
An incredibly assured narration, and one of the rare books (and I get through the thick end of a hundred novels a year) which stays in your mind long after you close it. Human characters, with all that that entails in frailty, inconsistency, humour and occasional toe-curling embarrassment, who are easily believable as inhabiting the same world as the rest of us. And a gut-wrenching sadness which persists, as a tribute to an author who grabs you by the scruff of the neck and leaves you feeling that you've shared their lives with them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Prompt service
Published 5 hours ago by f d quinn
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book! Definitely one of the best books I've read! Hated the film though!
Published 14 hours ago by Ingrid Porpino Meschede
3.0 out of 5 stars Dexter is a knob
Not sure this book was aimed at me but after hearing the author on the radio I thought I would give it a go. Read more
Published 19 hours ago by Steveatki
5.0 out of 5 stars What a super book! The characterisation is excellent and the story ...
What a super book! The characterisation is excellent and the story flows. But watch out for the ending - I didn't expect that!
Published 23 hours ago by Mrs. Janice Bruce
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
this is as good as a book can get
Published 1 day ago by Sheila furness
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and heartbreaking
Beautiful and heartbreaking. I'm not very good at judging books by their covers an I absolutely detest same-old romance novels. Read more
Published 1 day ago by sarah westlake
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
The foul mouthed writer offends me and my intellect.
Published 1 day ago by J. O'hare
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
very good, very pleased with this book - thanks so much.
Published 1 day ago by tinkerbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Funny, moving. Starts in Edinburgh University in 1988, the same year I started there, so a real nostalgia fest.
Published 1 day ago by Antony Gosling
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholls' observations of life in London from the eighties and of...
Tells the tale of two people's lives and loves over twenty years as a series of vignettes. We re-acquaint ourselves with them on the same day each year, catching up with their... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Wilf 66
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