A Touch of Love
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A Touch of Love is Jonathan Coe's delightfully comic and moving novel about not fitting in.
Robin, a postgraduate student in Coventry, has spent four and a half years not writing his thesis. He and his academic colleagues, united by pallor, social ineptitude and sexual inexperience, once spent hours discussing their theories, but they somehow never made it into print.
Now his unfinished thesis languishes in a drawer, and Robin hides in his room, increasingly frightened by a world he doesn't understand. His friends have failed him and romance eludes him. His only outlet is his short stories, scribbled in notebooks and expressing his secret obsessions and frustrations.
Then, when an unfortunate and embarrassing incident in a public park lands him in serious trouble, Robin's life finally spirals out of control. . .
A Touch of Love is a brilliant, bittersweet book that will be enjoyed by readers of David Nicholls, Nick Hornby and lovers of comic fiction.
feel better for it. Kerry and I are going away soon: two weeks in Portugal. When did you and Mark last have a proper holiday together?’ ‘Oh, some time ago. Look, the father is your main witness, is he?’ ‘Yes. His version of events is – well, you’ve read it yourself. He says that his son went into the bushes to retrieve this ball and Grant followed him in there.’ ‘But that’s not what happened at all. Robin was there already.’ ‘So he says. But what does a grown man sneak off into a clump of
bushes for, at seven in the evening?’ ‘To relieve himself, of course. Which would explain, wouldn’t it, why he was looking “shifty”, as I believe the father put it? He’d been drinking tea and coffee all day, with a friend.’ ‘A friend?’ ‘A male friend. Parrish. Edward Parrish: they knew each other at university. Have you not been in contact with him?’ ‘Oh, the elusive Mr Parrish. Yes, I have. I found him very reluctant to testify. He might yet be open to persuasion, though.’ Alun crossed and
of. I suppose you’re angry that I haven’t made you any supper. No, I don’t expect you to wait on me hand and foot, and besides, I’m quite capable of cooking myself a meal when I need to; it’s just nice to have some vague idea of where one’s wife is at ten o’clock on a Friday evening, that’s all. Well, would you like me to draw you a map of my route, with a complete timetable attached? Look, don’t hassle me, Emma, it’s been one of those days. Fine, join the club. Silence. She felt suddenly
response she said, ‘I’m sorry I was so late getting back tonight.’ He turned over and hugged her. ‘That’s all right,’ he said; but he still did not ask her where she had been, and the moment of reconciliation, which she had been so tensely anticipating, was very transitory. ‘Has it been such a bad day?’ she asked, wanting to hear him talk. ‘Oh, it was OK. I feel I’m fighting a losing battle, though, as usual.’ There was a long pause, during which she could tell that there was something he
assumptions!’ ‘I didn’t mean to be forward,’ the doctor said. ‘I just thought… well, I don’t know what I thought.’ Kathleen sat back again, and her voice took on a more pensive tone. ‘No, actually that’s quite interesting. Quite revealing, really. This man and I have said nothing to each other on the whole journey – what’s your name by the way?’ she asked, turning to him. ‘Robert.’ ‘I’m Kathleen. Hello.’ They shook hands. ‘We haven’t exchanged a single word, all evening, and yet you still