This book is written as a journal, partly as a diary by the central character and partly by his friends all giving their record of events. It has a slow start, bogged down, as are all David Lodge’s books by excursions into the meaning of words and phrases and studies of the English language, but it is worth sticking with the book as it does get better as it goes on and finishes up with a good ending. There are several boring references that refer to books that delve into the depths of your mind.
Laurence Passmore is a successful script writer for a TV sitcom series and is comfortably well off.
He has a lovely wife, two grown up children, yet he suffers from depression for seemingly no good reason. He has tried all sorts of therapists to no avail. Aromatherapy, physiotherapy, chemotherapy, acupuncture, yoga and psychiatry.
He is always morose at home, much to his wife’s annoyance, not listening to what she is saying. Finally, when he fails to hear her say that his daughter is pregnant, she walks out and leaves him.
Laurence is distraught and goes off with a girl friend with whom he has been having a purely platonic relationship for what he hopes will be a dirty weekend in Tenerife, which is an absolute disaster.
He then gets deeply involved in the books of a Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard and he tries another weekend away in Copenhagen to do research into his life and works, with a young girl from the TV studio, but this is also a disaster.
Towards the end of the book we hear about his first love, whilst a schoolboy and his attempts to woo Maureen, a strict Catholic, amid the confines of the church youth club.
This was very enjoyable and brought back some memories for me.
As I said, I enjoyed the book which got better towards the end. Not as good as the first book I read by David Lodge, which was Paradise News. I have read several of his books, but none are as good as that first one of his that I read.