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Book Title: Obstacles To Young Love|
The author of the book: David Nobbs
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of issue: June 10th 2010
Loaded: 1438 times
Reader ratings: 4.2
ISBN 13: 9780007286287
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 799 KB
City - Country: No data
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This is a really excellent book. It is exceptionally well written, witty, humane, perceptive and extremely touching. The plot is simply a chronicle of how the lives of two people and those associated with them develop as they grow older. There is marriage, birth, death, divorce, friendship and some tragedy, but no car chases, grisly murders or anything of the kind, and yet I found it utterly gripping. It kept me engrossed in the lives of people whom I really cared about in a way that few other books have done and genuinely made me think about what is important in relationships and in life.
The story opens in 1978 with Naomi and Timothy discovering sex together aged 18, and follows episodes in their lives for the next thirty years, sometimes apart and sometimes together. David Nobbs has a wonderful talent for seeing honestly and describing brilliantly the way people behave, think and feel. With Timothy in the first section of the book, for example, he catches with perfect delicacy the teenage sense that everyone else somehow knows how to behave, what to say, what to wear and so on, and that you don't but must try look as though you do. He paints a full cast of real, genuinely believable characters, and gently lays before us their foibles and mannerisms, the little lies they tell themselves to survive, the things they try to ignore because they are painful but know to be true, and so on. I felt that I had already met several of them in my life. David Nobbs is terrifically perceptive about them. He doesn't spare us their humiliations or their failings but treats them with tenderness and compassion. He reminds you, too, of people like the bloke who is always hanging around but is never really included, and that he, too, has feelings and a life, even if no-one ever takes an interest in him.
Important themes in the book are faith and organised religion, how they impact on lives and whether it is possible to have a meaningful, fulfilled life without them. It's exceptionally well done here: Nobbs's own position is very clear by the end of the book, but it's never preachy. He is very even-handed and he shows some of the fine and the ignoble aspects of both faith and atheism with equal insight, which makes this an enjoyable and thought-provoking aspect of the book, whether or not you agree with his final stance.
Nobbs's prose is a delight. He writes in the present tense here which I seldom like, but it works very well, giving the narrative a real flow through the years. It is straightforward, poised and excellently crafted, so that I seldom actually noticed the writing, and when I did it was just to notice how much I was enjoying it.
I don't often rave unreservedly about a book, but I think this is simply fantastic. Beautifully written, extremely readable, hugely entertaining and very thought-provoking, it's one of the best novels I've read for years and I recommend it very warmly indeed.
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