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Never Greener

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How long does it take to become a national treasure? It’s not a label bestowed lightly, but Ruth Jones is well on her way to earning it, thanks to her much-loved TV projects, Gavin & Stacey and Stella, which mixed drama and comedy to heartwarming effect. Her screen work has that elusive quality of the top-notch writer, a “voice” that wins you over instantly. On the face of it, this sounds like a novel to slog through of hard-to-like characters making harmful and hurtful decisions. But I was okay with that, going in. After all, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s brilliant ‘Fleabag’ TV series showed us the bitingly funny and complex humanity behind “toxic” people and their self-destruction. Something of ‘Never Greener’ also reminded me of British drama shows that had explored infidelity thoughtfully, and from many angles. ‘The 7.39’, starring David Morrissey for instance, and a David Tennant episode of ‘True Love’ that’s about a happily married-man bumping into ‘the one that got away’ and getting a brief, second chance with her. Both of these were examples of solid storytelling that didn’t reduce people down to ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but looked at the myriad ways we choose love, and exist within the ramifications of our choices. Heart-rending, provocative and astutely written, Never Greener is a love story about getting what you want and losing everything you need. Ruth's characters will stay with me for a long time.' Cathy Bramley

Oggi ho recuperato una lettura che avevo in lista ma che non riuscivo a leggere. Finalmente ho avuto un po' di tempo libero e mi sono dedicata ad “Ancora noi” di Ruth Jones, edito Sperling&Kupfer. The book leaps between 2002 and 1985 – describing Kate and Callum’s intense love affair when it first began (then ended in heartbreak) and again when it’s rekindled in 2002 after a chance encounter, when Callum is now in his 60s (still happily married to his wife) and Kate is a famous British actress with a husband and five-year-old daughter. When Kate was twenty-two, she had an intense and passionate affair with a married man, Callum, which ended in heartbreak. Kate thought she’d never get over it.


There's been a trend popping up recently, at least in my life, of unlikeable characters. No, this isn't a thinly veiled attempt to shame my colleagues and peers or my nearest and dearest in the national press, but rather a nod to the books and TV programmes I've been consuming. Louise O'Neill's recently released Almost Love struggles to present you with even one character you feel deserves your pity or empathy or forgiveness. La moglie vuole fare l'amore con lui (giustamente, essendo suo marito) e lui si sente in colpa di tradire Kate e pensa a lei durante l'amplesso. Ho pensato: "ma non ti fai schifo come uomo? Questa donna ti ha amato, perdonato e ha cresciuto i tuoi figli e tu hai il coraggio di riempirla di bugie per una donna che ti fa perdere il senno?".

Kate is an actress at the top of her game; she's married to the wonderful Matt and mother to five-year-old Tallulah. Callum is an older guy, a schoolteacher with three grown children, and obviously in love with his wife Belinda. Kate and Callum's lives couldn't be more different, yet when they meet again, all these years later, that spark is still there and despite any attempts to resist, it seems inevitable that the spark will create flames that could destroy so many lives.For starters –it’s not just Callum and Kate we’re following in this tale. No, there’s Kate’s husband Matt and his best friend Hetty and Callum’s wife Belinda too … And we get *everyone’s* perspective with the omniscient third-person narration. We can even start a chapter following one person’s interiority, but when they make a phone-call to someone else, we’ll then get that person’s side of things too. It’s baffling that these basic fiction foibles weren’t edited and corrected, because they are confusing and quite clearly a TV-writing holdover (especially from Jones’ ensemble-cast writing) that she needed to be rid of.

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