I don’t read a lot of new/contemporary fiction any more. Bad, I know, but all too often it’s like walking away from an expensive restaurant still feeling hungry. However I picked this up because every single person in London seemed to have their nose stuck in it, so I swallowed the bitter cup of jealousy and read it. And I’m awfully glad I did. For starters, this is a book about my generation, and some of the college stuff set in the 80s reads a bit like my own diary. For another thing, it’s one of those rare books with a central narrative gimmick – in this case, each chapter recounts events of the same date in successive years – that actually works. The basic story of Dexter and Emma’s relationship is unremarkable enough, but the way in which Nicholls views it through the prism of time and ageing makes is universal, noble and painfully romantic. I didn’t see the movie because I just feared it would be trite in all the ways that the novel isn’t. Was I right?