Another little taster of The Book

So, The Book. Yes, that thing. I’m mega Not Finished, which I was supposed to be by now, and wish I was. But I’m Having Thoughts about the ending. And this is a rough – I stress, rough – outline of a scene which will be near the end. If you want to read an excerpt that’s a bit more polished, cheerful and near the beginning, go to the page cannily entitled My Book (And don’t worry, I always write raging, melancholic things when I have deadlines elsewhere…)

Toby found Kit in the kitchen, picking at every object she could grab and moving it a fraction from its original position, like the sort of nervous smoker who lit up just to keep their hands occupied. She sensed him crossing the doorway and stayed facing the wall, holding a salt shaker that had been left on the work surface. 

“Why are you looking at me? What do you expect to happen?” 

“I want to hear you,” he said.

“That’s very generous of you. Funnily enough I can remember thinking the same about you the day you left early for a flight without saying goodbye and didn’t answer your phone for eighteen hours. Clearly it never occurred to you.” 

For two days, Kit had feared that if she stood still and made proper eye contact with him, she’d start talking and not be able to stop; that everything which had been churning through her head with no semblance of order to it would just fall out in a senseless patchwork of bad feeling. But the churning had become so repetitive she was faced with the choice to either hurl the salt shaker somewhere across the room or carry on talking. She set it down and turned around.

“When you look back over your life, over our lives, do you start to see a theme…? You went to university after two years off and bragged to everyone that you’d had some hot-shot job in Frankfurt when actually you were hardly there because you had a breakdown. You kept on seeing Lottie, even when you both knew you were only with her so you could hang around me. You pretended I was your girlfriend so you and Lottie could go to something you weren’t allowed into. You helped me butter up my experience to get my first PR job. You buttered up your boss to stop him sacking you for ill-health and now you publicly compare him to all kinds of vermin. You fell out with another boss and walked out of a job after less than a year while I was pregnant, and told everyone that you’d left because your new business venture was so brilliant it couldn’t wait. You encouraged me to stand for MP and told me you could handle the backlash. Every big decision that involves you involves a lie!”

“That’s not fair!” 

“It’s completely fair. Our entire life is built on lies!” 

“This isn’t about our entire life. This is recent past. The rest is irrelevant.” 

“Oh it is, is it. Would you like to know something I heard in the recent past? One in five men in Sudleymoor take antidepressants. One in five. Pills, just like yours! For mental health problems, just like yours! Only, they’re not like you. They don’t have a degree from up the road, and a rack of Merlot, and art on the wall, and a Conran suit! They can’t just spin their way out of trouble at work every time they get ill again! They haven’t got a nice, varnished CV! They come and sit opposite me threatening to kill themselves because they’ve lost their jobs and they can’t cope! They don’t have health insurance, or a pension plan, or a wife who earns sixty grand a year and used to earn a hundred and twenty, or happy, healthy children! You have, and you decided to shit all over it all! Is that ‘relevant’ enough for you?!”


2 thoughts on “Another little taster of The Book

    • Aww thank you so much! 🙂 That’s so so lovely to hear. Toby gets shouted at a lot in this, by different women. Every time I write him I just want to burst into Peggy Lee’s “He’s A Tramp”…

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