Lucy is a 42-year-old mother who is separated from Paul, her husband, who is drunk on alcohol and cocaine. He was the only one raising his two sons, Dylan and Al (we suspect the author, a huge music fan, was tempted to call them Bob and Dylan).
He meets Joseph, a 22-year-old black man who is a waiter at his executioner on Saturday (he has another strange job each of the other days of the week). She offered him to go and take care of the baby.
As you can imagine, the babysitter, after the children are put to bed, does the same with their mother. The two lovebirds fall in love and live a wonderful story. But in post-Brexit England, nothing is simple.
How do you view a love story? Is it fundamentally different if you’re a wealthy, culturally modified white woman (she’s an English teacher) at 42 and if you’re a young black man at 22, from a background in kind of worker, who multiplies strange jobs and still lives with his mother?
Obviously yes, and these are major barriers that prevent a sincere, happy, fun and, more importantly, shared love.
In Shakespeare’s country, this fable is set in the first part of the work of the great playwright, the comedies: humorous, derogatory, romantic, which mix with the political background.
Lucy and Joseph think about the strength of their feelings, they think about how their story can be understood, in their families and in those around them. They are reluctant to live their love in broad daylight, to face the gaze of others. How to live together, despite their different worldviews and reality, despite their differences, at a time when the country has broken strong in the Brexit campaign?
The dialogues are delicious. Humor, so British, is always present, to defuse complex situations: differences in age, skin color, social class … All the characters are sympathetic to us, despite their weaknesses for it is painted with great multitude and deep tenderness.
It’s hard to find a book that crunches full of teeth.
ANOTHER WORD …
One who voted for Brexit: it was among the poor, weary classes, struggling to find necessities, who thought that by expelling foreigners, there would be more jobs for them and better wages. A micro-economic vision of society.
Another voted against: more culturally, socially and economically advanced, he wanted to send his children to continue their studies in Europe and would not believe even a word of the arguments put forward by the leaders of no. A macroeconomic view of society.
If Brexit finally wins, the great winner of the book will be love, freedom, consent, sincerity, the ultimate pirouette to end this beautiful human adventure in these turbulent times. Social class cannot be a barrier to love.
“On the bus taking them to church with their sons, Lucy couldn’t help but think that attending this wedding was a kind of success. To begin with, it had been more than two years since Joseph had slept with Jaz and, as far as he knew, there had been no other wrongdoings. She and Joseph lived together, celebrating family holidays together, never talking about the coming year, just the coming week and the upcoming summer vacation, when summer isn’t too far away. He didn’t put any weight on her, but maybe people weren’t burdened with weight, and so every day gave them the joys of togetherness and co-parenting, and every week the joys. in sex, sometimes multiple times. (page 424)
Along with Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan, Nick Hornby is one of the most successful English writers we are familiar with. Both a novelist but also an essayist, journalist, lyricist and screenwriter, he has always taken the pulse of English society with his favorite topics: football, music, couples, parenting …