Five Days Apart Hardcover – Jun 29 2010
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“Binchy writes with a slow-burning intensity about social isolation and loneliness, workplace politics, and romantic triangles.” (Booklist)
From the Back Cover
When bright but tongue-tied David sees the magnetic Camille at a party, he plays it safe, asking his smooth and charming best friend, Alex, to make the introduction. But even though David was the first to notice Camille, it’s ever-confident Alex who walks away with the girl.
Painfully aware of what he has lost through his hesitant, overcautious approach to life, David leaves home in search of a new beginning. But neither distance nor time can erase the memory of Camille. Buoyed by a fresh perspective and newfound self-assurance, David is ready to face the would-be love of his life again and finally act on his feelings. But what happens when love gets in the way of lifelong friendship?
In the tradition of Nick Hornby, Roddy Doyle, and Michael Chabon, Chris Binchy delivers a witty and wise tale of the misfortunes of bad timing and the power of love.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
At times I wanted David to do something, to figure things out and to get on with it. He gradually does, but the progress was slow, which slowed the plot. I can see though, having known many men who move like turtles, how accurate Binchy's portrayal might actually be, but it didn't help keep my interest. I didn't love David's character. I disliked Alex even less and didn't even warm much to Camille.
Nephew of the infamous Maeve Binchy, Chris Binchy shows adept writing skills with impeccable scenes, dialogue and description in his American debut. There were scenes in Brazil I could vividly picture and practically taste, but even here action was lacking. Overall I wasn't as pleased with Five Days Apart as I wanted to be, finding it a dry, slow read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This "bromance" novel is narrated by David and is, therefore, told from his point of view. David was the first to make eye contact with Camille, but being the shy, introverted, and socially awkward one, he initially let gregarious Alex do all the work for him -- striking up conversations with her, getting her name and phone number, introducing him to her.
Should it come as a surprise then that Alex made more of an impression on Camille than David?
At the end of a subsequent get-together one evening, David walked in on Alex and Camille making lovey-dovey moves. Silently furious, David walked out on them. When he and Alex next caught up with each other, David accused Alex of stealing Camille from him, but Alex tried to explain that Camille wasn't even aware of David's interest in her, that she was the one who initiated the moves, and that they both had just realized they had fallen for each other.
Distraught, David tried to shut both Alex and Camille out of his life, but that didn't last for long. Realizing that he might not want to throw away 20 years of friendship with Alex, he decided to reconcile with Alex, who had persisted in reaching out to him, assuring him that Camille wasn't just a fling like the many ones David had known Alex to have had.
But did David really put his friendship with Alex above his strong feelings for Camille, like he had thought Alex should have done for him? Could David really trust Alex to love Camille the way he would have? Would he ever let Camille know his love for her? Would his friendship with Alex really survive?
The turn of events that leads us to the somewhat abrupt ending had me telling myself: Hmmm ... I think I can accept that resolution.
With such a promising plot, this novel could have been a really compelling one had the writing and storytelling, in my opinion, been less flat and monochromatic. By this I mean, instead of every other encounter starting with repetitive and dull pleasantries such as "I haven't seen or heard from you for a long time. How are you?", maybe the author could have conjured up something more imaginative? Also, I can understand the intense longing that David has for Camille, but could we enliven things up a little bit and have the characters show a wider range of emotions? Finally, given that mixed signals and misconstruals were important plot elements in this novel, I thought that letting David, Alex, and perhaps even Camille take turns sharing their own intimate thoughts with the readers, relating how certain incidents might or might not have impacted them personally, in a point-counterpoint style could add texture to the story. Some authors (for example, Peter Hedges in The Heights) have used this interesting storytelling device to good effects; I thought it could work well for this novel as well.
My rating: 3.5 stars!
The book is pretty much exclusively about the three of them, with only minor breaks to talk about David's work and his work-related trip to Brazil. I enjoyed the dialogue and the descriptions of how difficult relationships can be. I would have enjoyed a little more levity, some comic relief, as David's depression could sometimes be hard to take. Still, I liked the ending.
David is an unassertive, conscientious regular guy who has maintained a solid 20-year friendship with good-time ladies man, Alex. When David briefly meets Camille at a party (only a few banal sentences exchanged) he is immediately smitten. What is it about her that has him so bowled-over that he feels an overwhelming need to act upon his attraction like never before? At this point we see how the long-time relationship between David and Alex has cast both of them in established roles. David is the reliable but unexciting friend who has no luck with women, so it comes as a surprise when he asks Alex for his help. Alex is the de facto ladies man who has his way with a chat, which David relies upon to compensate for what he feels he can't do. This falling into roles is what puts this story into play and it is no surprise that Alex ends up with the girl. However David can't see that he can't have it both ways.
As David continues to pine and Alex finds himself falling for Camille as he never has before, the two men find themselves being puled out of their established friend roles and the story proceeds to follow the line to the conclusion.
The story is told entirely from David's point of view, and he's an insecure, wounded young man. Even though I questioned the voracity of David's obsession with Camille after such a short period, I found it an entertaining and easy read.