Days Paperback – 8 Apr 1999
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The right amount of credit on your card will buy you anything--a rare matchbook, an albino tiger, the women in the Pleasure department. Days is the grandest of department stores, whose security men are licensed to kill and whose seven owners, a group of very different brothers, brood in a penthouse, fetched endless vast meals by a grumpy butler. James Lovegrove's novel inhabits that realm where satire borders on allegory and realism is full of wild magic; it was, nonetheless, shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke prize. Security man Frank has reached a point of alienation such that he can no longer see himself in the mirror; Gordon and Linda have just got their first Days storecard, and are keen to undergo the Days experience; the Book Department's feud for space with their neighbours in Computers is about to enter a new phase. There are flash sales in Ties and Dolls, and a riot in Third World Musical Instruments. And who is sleeping in the Bed Department's four- poster? Endlessly inventive and savage in its humour, Lovegrove's novel will change for ever the way you feel about superstores, and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "shop till you drop". --Roz Kaveney
A new mass market edition for the critically acclaimed, Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlisted, satire on consumerism.See all Product description
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I found this book tedious. It is based around an idea that, whilst perhaps having the legs for a short story or a single Doctor Who episode, doesn't have the stamina to make it to the finishing line demanded by a novel, at least not wearing these trainers. I didn't really care about the characters or what happened to them, I wasn't convinced by the flow of the plot, and the story failed to immerse me in a world where I genuinely believed that people would batter each other for a zither.
It isn't a bad book, it isn't a good book, and perhaps that is the most damming criticism of all. Sorry, James.
People scrimp and save for years in order to secure a Days card, and for one couple, all the sacrifice has been worth it. Today will be their first visit to Days, and the excitement is overwhelming...
Elsewhere, a man decides that today is his last at Days. For over 30 years he has worked tirelessly inside the immense store, but this morning, as he struggles to recall his face in the mirror, his decision is made...
Between two departments, rivalry reaches the point of no return...
In the basement menagerie a white tiger pads silently through the bush, passing time until her owner comes to claim her...
In the boardroom, on this particular day, life and death decisions are made...
And outside on the pavement, disaffected and wannabe Days customers settle down to another day of window shopping...
This is the exclusive world of Days, the world's first (and foremost?) gigastore, laid out in all its tarnished glory for your reading pleasure. Mr Lovegrove's writing style is very formal, very detached, but where it might leave you cold in other books, in this instance it works in the story's favour.
Lovegrove's words skim the characters' surfaces without breaking through, yet an atmosphere both disturbing and compelling is created, and you read on with curiousity. You just *know* that the story is building, and you hope that it will come to a worthwhile climax, which it does, ending with a great and satisfying bang.
One of the best things about this tale is that, at the end, everything reaches cohesion in a very gratifying way. The characters break through their shallowness and the world comes alive. I don't know how many books I've read recently that had wholely disappointing endings, so I'm doubly pleased that Mr Lovegrove has the talent and skill to bring this one off. You finish reading and you're left with the thought, 'well done'.
A very good book, and though I doubt it will ever hit a top-ten list, it probably has more right to be there than many of the books that *do* make it.
The book describes a day at the Days gigastore, a place where you can buy anything that can be sold - but at a price that sometimes is not what you expected. The day is viewed from the perspective of different characters: an obsessive, rabid shopper and her meek husband; a security guard that is losing his identity; the reclusive seven brothers who inherited the store and their butler; and more...
The story is gripping, the characters very well defined, and the author manages to strike a rare balance of satire, dark humour and tragedy. It is very funny at times, and as chilling as an horror book at others; for sure, it will give you plenty to think about. It is beautifully written, too, and manages the rare feat of having a satisfying end, as good as the rest of the book.
Treat yourself and read it.