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There's a double layer of nostalgia: David Nicholls in One Day returns to the book charts | Books

There's a double layer of nostalgia: David Nicholls in One Day returns to the book charts |  Books


TThe TV adaptation of One Day, starring Leo Woodall and Ambika Mod, shot straight to number one in the UK Netflix chart when it premiered earlier this month. Now the book it's based on is also back on the bestseller charts, 15 years after it was first published.

Author David Nicholls says he was influenced by romantic comedies, notably When Harry Met Sally, when he wrote the story of Dexter and Emma, ​​who meet each year on St. Swithins' Day during 20 years. I wanted to write something full of emotion and affection, which owed a lot to romantic comedy, but which also spoke about life and death, the ups and downs of our professional lives, the twenty-something insecurities.

Leo Woodall and Ambika Mod in a scene from the Netflix series One Day. Photography: AP

I thought I was writing this book for my generation, people who grew up in the '70s and '80s, says Nicholls, 57. But when it came out in 2009, I knew it was being read by many young readers, including Ambika who read it as a teenager. Now my daughter comes home from school and tells me that her friends are watching and falling in love with Dexter and Emma, ​​even though their story goes further back in the past, and that's really exciting for me too.

Even Kim Kardashian recommended the series to her 364 million Instagram fans if you want a good cry. This particularly amuses Nicholls. Isn't that weird. A lot of it is about what it felt like to work in a bad restaurant in Camden in 1991 and live in crummy studio apartments. I love the idea of ​​her sitting and watching this on a huge TV.

Nicholls paid tribute to the team behind the show, who he called a pleasure to work with. It is often a rather adversarial relationship between a novelist and those who adapt his work, as much of the work involves disposing of material. You may be very defensive about it and feel like someone is coming into your house and rearranging the furniture. But I never felt like I was losing control.

It also seemed risky to air a story like this on television, over 14 episodes, because usually a series like this relies on twists and turns, big events, murders and all kinds of plot developments. But he was pleasantly surprised that viewers not only made it to the end, but watched it twice, even three times. After all, what's more dramatic than love? I've always thought that's often the most important thing that happens to you, meeting someone and falling in love. It's the thing that shapes your life, he says.

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Although Nicholls has written a number of popular books, including 2003's Starter For Ten and 2014's Us, and worked on several films and TV shows like 2018's Patrick Melrose, One Day is by far his most popular work. The book has sold over 3 million copies in the UK and 6 million worldwide, in 40 languages. But the recent resurgence of interest has been something of an existential experience for the writer.

I wrote the book when I was about Dexter's age at the end of the novel, in my early forties. It was in the spirit of nostalgia for my 20s and 30s, he said. I had just become a parent, so I was saying goodbye to that part of your life that involves starting your career, dating, and having fun.

But when he looks at it now, he says he feels much sadder about the passage of time. The way it's speeding up, the friends I've lost, the people who aren't here anymore, the regrets I have. There's a double layer of nostalgia associated with it: now nostalgia for the period it covers, from 1988 to 2007, but also nostalgia for the time in which I wrote it.

I'm almost 20 years older and it's much more a question of things that escape me. To me now, One Day means something slightly different, something slightly more melancholic.




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