1992, and Ben Tallis is coming to terms with the recent death of his father. His ability to cope isn’t helped by the fact he’s secretly in love with one of his best friends. At least keeping a daily journal helps him make sense of events, and he believes it’s the perfect preparation for his plan to one day become a successful journalist. 2012 and Ben has achieved his career ambition – he’s a highly respected journalist and is engaged to a hardworking and ambitious lawyer. But this seemingly ‘perfect’ relationship is fraught with problems. Ben mentions in passing to his editor he has received an invitation to a 20 year school reunion but doesn’t want to go. His editor however smells a great feature article and insists Ben returns home, faces his past – including his secret teenage yearning – and writes a feature on how much we change, and yet in so many ways stay the same. As Ben reluctantly re-engages with his past he soon comes to realise that we can never run from the truth…or who we truly are.
Gothard is a sharp-eyed chronicler of the modern world and his second novel sees him take this talent to a new level. He deftly describes people as overwhelmed curators of their own ambitions, competing, loving and bickering with one another amidst the shifting scenery of postmodern life. Trying to make sense of their past and their identity in a world that treats both as a Pick ‘N’ Mix. This novel ripples with heart-warming nostalgia, for a time when Nirvana and Rick Astley dominated the airwaves like they were equals. This wonderful novel exquisitely teases out the million dollar question – how do we make a success of our life? –Guy Mankowski, bestselling author of Letters from Yelena, The Intimates and An Honest Deceit.
Daniel Gothard lives in Oxford with his wife and three children. He has a CertHE and MA in creative writing. He has previously had two novels published and appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the UK and abroad. His last novel – ‘Friendship and Afterwards’ – was nominated for The People’s Book Prize. He is also an Arts Correspondent for After Nyne magazine. ‘Simon says’ will be published by Urbane in January 2016.