- Publisher: Hutchinson
- Format: Paperback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 152mm x 232mm x 26mm | 440g
- Publication date: 23 April 2013
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0091795826
- ISBN 13: 9780091795825
- Sales rank: 30,536
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Pursuit of Happiness and The Moment comes a poignant and profound American love story. How long does it take to fall in love? For twenty years, Laura has been a good wife and a good mother. She's supported her husband through redundancy, she's worried about her son, she's encouraged her daughter. She's stopped thinking about all the places she'd like to go and all the books she'd like to talk about. She's not unhappy, exactly. She's not that self-indulgent. As anyone would tell you, Laura is wonderfully constant, caring, selfless. She's certainly an expert at putting on a brave face. But a chance meeting in a hotel lobby - and the five days that follow - remind Laura of the young woman she used to be - and the woman she could have become. Is it ever too late to have the life you wanted? Or do we owe it to ourselves to pursue the promise of happiness? From 'the absolute master of love stories with heart-stopping twists' (The Times), Five Days is a compelling novel about how life can change with one brief encounter.
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Douglas Kennedy's previous novels include the critically acclaimed bestsellers The Big Picture, The Pursuit of Happiness, A Special Relationship and The Moment. He is also the author of three highly praised travel books. His work has been translated into twenty-two languages. In 2007 he was awarded the French decoration of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Born in Manhattan in 1955, he has two children and currently divides his time between London, Paris, Berlin, Montreal and Maine.
By Shelley Cusbert 20 Apr 2013
On the day before I began reading Five Days, an article appeared in the weekend paper supplement titled the Silver Years Itch. This article examined the growing trend of mid life divorce, most commonly instigated by wives who, after twenty years or so of marriage and child-rearing, are leaving to rediscover who they are, or were, as individuals, as distinct from wives and mothers.
Five Days explores this phenomena by introducing 42 year old Laura who finds that contentment with her life's path is becoming increasingly elusive. Her marriage is crumbling, her children are moving into adulthood and her work as an X-ray technician is no longer satisfying. She looks forward to temporarily escaping home and work to attend a weekend medical conference in Boston and that is where she meets Richard, an insurance salesman, and is stunned to rediscover joy, passion and hope for the future.
"...we all know these women because they are, more or less, reflections of ourselves." comments Laura while discussing The Easter Parade by Richard Yates with her best friend Lucy, and I think this is what Kennedy hopes the audience of Five Days will find. That readers will empathise with Laura's restlessness, with her rediscovery of happiness and the choices she makes. I do think that Kennedy displays real insight into the complicated nature of personal sacrifice made by women to nurture marriages and children. Laura has spent years putting her family's needs before her own and being both emotionally and financially responsible for them has taken it's toll.
Aside from generally finding adultery contemptible, I was less taken by the whirlwind relationship that develops between Laura and Richard which I thought shifted between wildly romantic and farcial. I had no problem figuring how it was all going to end though ultimately I appreciated it's contribution to Laura's growth.
Five Days is a contemporary story of life, love and second chances. I did enjoy the novel, which I found a reasonably quick and thought provoking read, though my cynical side prevented me from being swept away completely. Still, I am tempted by the premises of a number of the author's backlist titles and may find time to read more from Douglas Kennedy.
"Totally, blissfully absorbing" The Times "Kennedy can effortlessly inhabit the voice of the female narrator, and Laura's dilemma will leave you absolutely gripped to the final page. " Sunday Mirror "A gripping emotional rollercoaster; pressing so many buttons it's likely to have readers examining their own what-might-have-beens." Daily Mail "Possesses a Hitchcockian approach to this narrative hub; tension and twists are administered in equal measure in order to retain readers' emotional attachment to otherwise domestic scenarios. The ordinary becomes, through his carefully plotting, extraordinary. Kennedy's trick is to pull all the strings of thriller writing in the romance genre. a novel that's both moving and realistic as it broaches that awful chasm between what we could be and what we presently are." Independent on Sunday "It is a tribute to Kennedy's skill that he can take such a hackneyed situation and make the protagonists richly three-dimensional. As love fizzles out, Kennedy finds something redemptive in the triumph of hope over experience." Daily Mail
A brilliant meditation on regret, fidelity, family, and second chances that will have you breathlessly turning pages to find out what happened in the past and what will happen next ... heartbreaking and hopeful
Back cover copy
How long does it take to fall in love? For twenty years, Laura has been a good wife and a good mother. Shes supported her husband through redundancy, shes worried about her son, shes encouraged her daughter. Shes stopped thinking about all the places shed like to go and all the books shed like to talk about. Shes not unhappy, exactly. Shes not that self-indulgent. As anyone would tell you, Laura is wonderfully constant, caring, selfless. Shes certainly an expert at putting on a brave face. But a chance meeting in a hotel lobby and the five days that follow remind Laura of the young woman she used to be and the woman she could have become. Is it ever too late to have the life you wanted? Or do we owe it to ourselves to pursue the promise of happiness? From the absolute master of love stories with heart-stopping twists (The Times), Five Days is a compelling novel about how life can change with one brief encounter.