Douglas Kennedy’s eleventh novel, Five Days, is a luxurious work that spins several unpleasant topics into a rich literary experience. It’s a love story that explores both the rampant ecstasy and wrenching sadness with a scope so broad it will leave the reader rather breathless. As the title suggests, the story is divided into five days amid Laura’s life, documenting the unhappiness of her every day, the tentative thrill of discovering something new, and the frightening elation at the prospect of changing her life for the better. Perhaps what I connected most with in the book was the difficulty – and triumph – in Laura’s plight to recreate her life; Kennedy focuses the novel on her first-person narration, which allows the reader to become fully acquainted with this remarkable character. Initially, I felt that I couldn't quite relate with Laura, that her tone was rather depressing, but the beauty of Kennedy’s work is in the power he maintains over his own writing. His timing is excellent. As Laura frees herself from the confines of her depressing life and embarks on a life-changing relationship with another man, she allows herself to open up to the reader, to drop her guard. But it was after what happened later – when changes she had never expected began to take shape – that I found her at her most empowering.
Kennedy's use of language is superb, and his detailing creates a beautiful, almost dreamlike literary world that’s tinged ever slightly with melancholy. Richard and Laura are both pragmatic and romantic, two fascinatingly smart, well-read, engaged people. Their connect is so that Kennedy manages to set them more or less above every other character in the book – which, as they together share in their delight of obscure artistic references and an all-too-encompassing interest in synonyms – could make the reader feel either connected or slightly detached. Their intellect being the chief source of their chemistry, I found it fascinating to follow along and see the sparks ignite on the page. Overall, I found Five Days to be a thought-provoking look at the power of love to build up, destroy, and change our lives as we know it, and how we as humans deal with the magnitude of it.
Title: Five Days Author: Douglas Kennedy Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Atria Books Available Formats: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audio book Release date: April 30, 2013 Provided by: Atria Books/Simon & Schuster via NetGalley (c/o) Buy the book: Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble Connect with the author: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads